Real Madrid could have signed Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger for NOTHING just 18 months ago. Real are now being quoted a €50 million fee for Schweini after new coach Jose Mourinho identified the World Cup ace as his ideal midfield signing.

Sport says it was just 18 months ago that Schweini was offered to Real, then under the charge of Ramon Calderon and Pedja Mijatovic, on a Bosman transfer.

The midfielder was coming off contract in December 2008 and could have been signed to a pre-contract by Real. Agents offered the German to Real - and were given a flat 'no'.

The episode hasn't dampened Schweini's enthusiasm for Real, however.

Only yesterday, when asked about the Real rumours, he teased: "Well, my favourite colour is white ..."

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