Julian Nagelsmann did not entertain discussions with Real Madrid in 2018 as he said a move to the then European champions "made no sense".
Madrid were rebuilding after winning a fourth Champions League title in five years, with coach Zinedine Zidane and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo both leaving, while final match-winner Gareth Bale also outlined a desire to depart.
The sudden moves thrust Los Blancos into the managerial market, with Nagelsmann impressing at Hoffenheim.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sport Bild on Wednesday, the 33-year-old revealed Madrid pursued "a conversation" but he rejected the approach.
Madrid turned instead to Julen Lopetegui for a short-lived stint, a move that massively hindered Spain's World Cup campaign, while Nagelsmann's Hoffenheim exit was confirmed for 2019, when he joined RB Leipzig.
Explaining his reasoning, Nagelsmann said: "I said that it made no sense at the time.
"It would only have been three weeks until the start of training, I could barely speak Spanish. That would not have been enough for me or Madrid."
Madrid have ended up with Zidane back at the helm, replacing subsequent appointment Santiago Solari and winning LaLiga last season.
Nagelsmann has continued to impress at Leipzig, meanwhile, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019-20.
But the former defender does not yet consider himself among the world's best coaches, insisting silverware is required before he can enter that debate.
"I see myself as a talented coach who would like to advance to the best and still has a lot of development potential," Nagelsmann said.
"I don't have to be world coach of the year at some point, but I would like to be named one of the best coaches one day.
"If you want to get to the top shelf, you have to win something. Apart from the Under-19 Bundesliga [at Hoffenheim in 2013-14], I don't have any titles."
Such success might well have followed a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Nagelsmann would have missed out on coaching Juventus superstar Ronaldo.
He would relish the opportunity to work with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"From the outside, you often only see the person who posts pictures of his yacht," Nagelsmann said. "But what Sami Khedira told me about Ronaldo's professional approach to work, for example, is impressive.
"He has to be an incredible training animal, the first to come, the last to leave. He is also a very warm guy. That mix is extremely exciting."