Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo has revealed he came close to joining Chelsea in 2009.
Then at AC Milan, the veteran midfielder says that he was set to follow Carlo Ancelotti to Stamford Bridge.
However, he was persuaded to stay by Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi before later moving to Juventus in 2011
In this extract from his new autobiography, ‘I Think Therefore I Play’, Pirlo, 34, sheds light on the events.
As quoted on the Sky Sports website, he said: “Silvio Berlusconi had a difficult task that day convincing me to stay. Persuading me to reopen a suitcase that was already on the check-in belt, ready to be weighed and then sent on its way.
“It was August 2009 and I’d reached agreement with Chelsea, the club where Carlo Ancelotti had just come in as manager. Carlo was like a father and a teacher for me, a kind, friendly man who knew how to make things fun. I’d spent the best years of my career with him.
“Carlo Ancelotti was my motivation for agreeing to head to London. But, in the meantime, Berlusconi had pulled out a piece of paper. This time there were loads of names with ticks next to them, and one that had been circled.
“’Stay. We’ve signed Huntelaar.’
“’We could have brought in other guys, people like Claudio Pizarro, but we chose him.
“’Listen, Andrea, you just can’t do this, damn it. You’re the symbol of Milan, a standard bearer for this team, and we’ve already sold Kaká. You can’t jump ship as well. It’d be a terrible blow, to our image as much as anything. We can’t have everyone leaving.’”