The 30-year-old, formerly of Arsenal, was linked with a loan move to Camp Nou at the turn of the year after impressing for LAFC in his debut campaign in the MLS.
Vela scored 14 goals and provided 10 assists in 2018 and concedes he would dearly have loved a January switch to the LaLiga giants, who instead opted for Kevin-Prince Boateng.
"It was really close," he told BS The Podcast. "My second month for holidays, I was there with my pina colada and my agent called me to say 'look, Barcelona is calling you. They want you to play for four months then you can go back to LA'.
"I said just say yes, I don't care about the money or nothing. I'm going to start training tomorrow, give me two weeks to be a little bit fit.
"Barcelona, Real Madrid you can't say no... If it was only my choice, for sure, I'd take it."
Vela has built on last year's impressive return with a further 27 goals already this season and he outlined his intention to see out his playing days with the American franchise.
"It's not only the things I want, football is a business and you know how it works. But, if I have everything, I want to be here for the rest of my career," he said.
"I'm really happy here, playing in LA. I want to be here."