Hearts forward Donis Avdijaj has expressed his regret at turning down opportunities to join Liverpool and Real Madrid early in his career.
The 23-year-old joined Schalke’s academy from VfL Osnabrück in 2011 and after spending three seasons in their youth system, he was promoted to their first team in 2014.
Speaking to Germany’s Sport1, the forward revealed he rejected approaches from the Reds and the 13-time European champions, during his time at Schalke.
“My biggest mistake, which I bitterly regret, was that I turned down a mega offer from Liverpool FC before I signed the long-term contract with Schalke, which was a matter close to my heart. I also had one [offer] from Real Madrid,” he said.
Avdijaj failed to cement a place at Schalke, which is why he was sent out on loan to two different clubs. He left the Bundesliga side on a permanent transfer when Willem II signed him in 2018.
Last summer, the Dutch club sold him to Trabzonspor and after spending six months there, he arrived in Scotland earlier this year.
With the way things have gone so far for the player, it’s no surprise that he feels turning down Liverpool and Real Madrid is the biggest mistake of his career.
Avdijaj also stressed he had no adequate support from his former employer and the €47m release clause in his Schalke contract didn’t help him.
“It made me happy back then [in 2014], I didn’t really know that. I still believe that at that time I lacked the necessary support from Schalke, otherwise a lot could have gone differently,” Avdijaj explained.
“However, there were always moments when I had to fight my way through, and thank God I have managed to this day. But at the time, I wasn’t the player who trained and played with the professionals, just the boy with the €47m clause. That has already burdened me.”