Andrea Pirlo revealed exclusively to FourFourTwo that he almost signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2006, just after Italy won the World Cup.
With AC Milan engulfed in the Calcipoli match-fixing scandal, their Champions League and even Serie A status have been called into question, with players like Pirlo feeling uncertain about the club’s condition on its return from the World Cup.
That’s why Pirlo said FourFourTwo (opens in new tab) in the last number on sale that he almost moved to Real Madrid as a result, but once AC Milan’s situation was resolved, he signed a new contract with the club, where he remained until 2011.
“We had just won the World Cup, but we didn’t know what would happen,” Pirlo said.
“I was very, very close with Real Madrid, but then we were told that Milan could go into Champions League qualification and re-enter Serie A. I was immediately offered a new contract and the club took great care of me to keep.”
However, that’s not the only time he almost displaced one of Spain’s elites, Pirlo said FFT Pep Guardiola wanted him to play alongside Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi at Barcelona.
Ultimately, nothing came of it, but Pirlo still clearly values that conversation with Guardiola after a friendly match between AC Milan and Barcelona in August 2010.
“He called me in [to his office after the game] and started talking about how he wanted to play and how he would like me to join his team,” Pirlo said.
“For me it was a source of pride, especially to talk to him and also to be compared to a Barcelona player. Nothing happened in the end, but being called to his office by Guardiola to talk was a great experience.”
Naturally, English clubs have also courted Pirlo’s signature throughout his career, the Italian’s influence on games with his passing and control was evident across the continent.
Pirlo said Chelsea and Manchester City both wanted to move him away from Italy, with his former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti unveiled as Chelsea manager ahead of the 2009/10 season trying to convince him to move to Stamford Bridge .
“Ancelotti asked me to go with him,” the midfielder recalled. “The two teams talked about it with my agent and the chances were good. But in the end, when it was time to sign the contract, Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani didn’t want me to go.”
Similarly, his compatriot Roberto Mancini was in charge of Manchester City in 2011, the same year he moved to Juventus. He spoke to the club about a possible move, but ultimately decided to stay in Italy.
While he could have won many trophies at Manchester City, his decision to sign for Juventus saw him win four consecutive Serie A titles and a Coppa Italia trophy.
“I talked to Juventus, to Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City and to other big teams, but in the end I decided to go to Turin because they had a good project to win again,” he explained.
“They had just had a few difficult years, but they had a new stadium and they were building a new Juve, where I was going to be an important player, so I decided to go there.”
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