Andrea Pirlo opens up on failed Real Madrid and Barcelona moves, reveals Guardiola’s interest

Andrea Pirlo reveals he almost joined Real Madrid in 2006, and Pep Guardiola wanted him at Barcelona in 2010

Former AC Milan and Juventus legend, Andrea Pirlo has revealed that he almost signed for Real Madrid in 2006, and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010 when he was at the peak of his prime.

In an interview with FourFourTwo’s Arthur Renard, the midfielder revealed that in the summer of 2006 after helping the Italian national team to their fourth World Cup, Real Madrid sought to sign him and a deal was almost accepted. But, the resolution of AC Milan’s match-fixing scandal at the time, unfortunately, made it impossible.

“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 got told that Milan could enter Champions League qualifying and be readmitted to Serie A. I was offered a new contract straight away and the club did a lot to keep me.”

He went on to sign a new contract with AC Milan once the club announced the problem had been addressed, and he stayed until 2011.

The 43-year-old also added that Pep Guardiola wanted him to join Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi at Barcelona in 2010, ultimately nothing came to fruition, but Pirlo still clearly values that conversation with Guardiola.

“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. In the end, nothing happened, but being called by Guardiola into his office to talk was a wonderful experience.”

The three-time Italian Footballer of the Year also revealed he nearly moved to Roberto Mancini’s side

He explained in the interview with FourFourTwo: “I spoke with Juventus, with Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City and with other big teams, but in the end I decided to go to Turin because they had a good project to get back to winning ways.”

“They had just gone through some tough years, but they had a new stadium and were building a new Juve, where I would be an important player, so I decided to go there.”

Pirlo went on to spend almost the entirety of his career in Italy before seeing out his professional football days at New York City FC in the MLS.

Despite staying in his home country, the 43-year-old would make more than 750 club appearances during his star-studded time as a player.

During his stint at Juventus and AC Milan, Pirlo won almost everything that there is to be won however, in 2011 he could have easily made the switch to the Premier League.

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