Fiorentina midfielder Borja Valero says he is still bitter about not being given a chance to succeed at Real Madrid.
The 2010 Spanish Player of the Year joined boyhood side Real at 11 years of age but only made two substitute appearances for the first team before being sold to Mallorca.
He later joined West Bromwich Albion and Villarreal, before arriving at Fiorentina in August.
Capped once by Spain at full international level, Valero feels he was never given a chance to prove himself at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
"They made it impossible for me," he told El Pais.
"I made progress since I was 11 years old and when you reach the top floor and they tell you that you cannot go higher, you have to find somewhere else to keep developing."
"This was complicated further by competition, by the requirement that they have to win every year. A boy of 18-20 years need a little patience and at Madrid, that is impossible."
The 27-year-old was linked with a move back to Madrid earlier this year, though he eventually moved to Italy's Serie A after suffering relegation with Villarreal.
Valero has been a first-team regular at the Stadio Artemio Franchi early in the 2012/13 season and is revelling in the free role given to him by new coach Vincenzo Montella.
"(Montella) likes to us play with the ball a lot, he has a more Spanish than Italian style," Valero said.
There is a common stereotype that Spanish players cannot perform well in Italy, but
Valero hopes his stay in Italy can prove Spanish players are capable of performing in the country.
"I did this as a new challenge. I said let's try and go against everyone who thinks that a Spanish player in Italy cannot play well," he said.
"(Football) is increasingly global and in recent years, Spanish players have decided to take the step of going abroad. We are not afraid to make our lives elsewhere."