Steven Gerrard Liverpool QPRNot even the allure of world soccer’s richest and most successful club was enough to pull Steven Gerrard away from home.

Gerrard, 34, revealed Tuesday that he had several chances to join Real Madrid during his career, but he rejected them all because his bond with Liverpool was too strong, according to the Telegraph.

“It is very flattering to be linked to a huge club like Madrid, and I have had options through my career to go to Real Madrid, but I resisted the temptation to stay with my hometown club,” Gerrard said during a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League game between Liverpool and Real Madrid. “I may regret at the end of my career not going to a different scenery but would have had bigger regret leaving Liverpool. Real Madrid are a special club, but Liverpool is my No. 1 club.”

Gerrard joined Liverpool’s youth system when he was 8 years old and graduated to the first team at age 18. Since then, Gerrard has spent his entire 17-year career playing for the Reds. He also has been Liverpool’s captain since 2001, leading the club to its greatest triumphs in the 21st century.

Gerrard famously turned down opportunities to join Chelsea in 2005 and 2006. Chelsea made a £32 million ($51.6 million) transfer bid for Gerrard, and he even submitted a transfer request during a contract stand-off with Liverpool.

But Gerrard ultimately signed a new contract with the Reds, and the rest is history for a player who is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his era.

Photo by Tim Ireland/The Associated Press