Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso says he decided the time was right to leave Real Madrid after last season's Champions League triumph.
Madrid's extra-time defeat of Atletico Madrid in last May's final saw them finally secure La Decima -- their 10th European Cup -- after 12 years of waiting.
Alonso, who was suspended for the clash, moved on to Bayern later that summer, believing it to be best to finish his five-year spell in the Spanish capital on a high.
"After beating Atletico in the Champions League final, it seemed as though the time had come to do something different again," AS quoted Alonso as telling FIFA.
"We had managed to win La Decima, Madrid's long-awaited 10th European Cup, and I thought it was right to try something new with one of the world's best teams and in one of Europe's top leagues. I was grateful to Real Madrid for letting me go even though I had a contract that was due to run until 2016."
Now at Bayern, Alonso has the chance to achieve something only former Netherlands international Clarence Seedorf has ever done before -- winning the Champions League with three different clubs.
The midfielder, who has also won the trophy at Liverpool as well as with Madrid, is aware he could achieve such a feat but would rather concentrate on playing well for his club.
"Winning the Champions League with Bayern would be fantastic but my priority is to continue doing my job on a weekly basis and contribute to the collective success of the team in whatever way I can. But it appeals to me," Alonso said.
"I have the most amazing memories from the 'Miracle of Istanbul' where [Rafa] Benitez led Liverpool back after going 3-0 down, to pull level at 3-3 then into extra time and penalties, which we ended up winning 3-2.
"I was also delighted with the masterstroke [Carlo] Ancelotti pulled last year when we beat Atletico in extra time. Unfortunately I was suspended for that match after picking up my third booking in the second leg in Munich. But I still played my part in what, for the time being, is the most recent major success I've been able to celebrate in my career."
It was Pep Guardiola who brought Alonso to Bayern from Madrid last summer, and the 33-year-old says the chance to work with the former Barcelona boss was something that appealed to him.
"There were many good reasons to move to Bayern and Pep Guardiola was definitely one of them," he said. "I immediately realised how Guardiola's unique intensity has enabled him to achieve so much in his relatively short career. To be able to learn even more about football under his guidance is incredibly motivating and offers a great challenge.
"He's a rigourous thinker and worker; he's very analytical, a great tactician and a methodical innovator. Pep understands everything about the game. He doesn't force his way of thinking on the players; instead, he convinces us about his ideas. If you manage that as a coach, you know that your players will push themselves even further and fight even harder for the team's shared goals."