Andrea Pirlo has revealed how he turned down the chance to join Barcelona in 2010 because he was enjoying himself too much at AC Milan.
Pirlo, who recently announced his retirement from professional football after two years with New York City FC in Major League Soccer, joined Juventus in 2011 and won three Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, to add to the two he won at Milan.
However, he missed out on winning a third Champions League title because he did not end up being a makeweight in the move of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Barcelona to the Rossoneri.
“Ibrahimovic’s transfer was in the balance and I could have been part of that move, but it was all resolved without me going,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia. I don’t know [if I would have accepted]. It would certainly have been a great experience, but I was happy at Milan.”
Pirlo played only half of Milan’s games in 2010-11, largely due to injury, although he was not considered as first choice at the time by Massimiliano Allegri, who did not object to his free transfer to Juve the following summer.
He had, however, been part of a strong Milan side who twice won the Champions League, and a group of players he did not want to leave.
“In an historic group of Italians, there was me, Massimo [Ambrosini], [Gennaro] Gattuso, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Christian] Abbiati and [Filippo] Inzaghi,” he said. “Rino acquired a fishmongers in the final years and so he was constantly providing fish to the kitchen at Milanello.
“When we knew that fish was on the menu, we would all order ham instead. Off the field, we were worse [crazier] than on it.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.