Andrea Pirlo has revealed he nearly joined Chelsea whilst under the management of Carlo Ancelotti in 2009.
The silky Italian has just announced that he will retire from football at the end of the current MLS season and, as is general protocol for these types of things, he has had a lot to say to the media about his illustrious career.
Amongst topics such as the Istanbul Champions League final, Sir Alex Ferguson and Mario Balotelli, Pirlo talked about the time he nearly ended up a Chelsea player, only for the deal to fall through after he went for a meeting with Silvio Berlusconi.
Speaking to the Mail he said: "It was August 2009 and I’d reached agreement with Chelsea, the club where Ancelotti had just come in as manager.
"Carlo Ancelotti was my motivation for agreeing to head to London. But, in the meantime, [Silvio] Berlusconi had pulled out a second 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'. Huntelaar…
"Ancelotti and I spoke a fair bit on the phone. He wanted to bring me to London at all costs, and cost was indeed the last hurdle still to be overcome. Insurmountable, as it transpired.
"Milan wanted too much cash, and they were also pushing for Branislav Ivanovic to be included in the deal. Chelsea hadn’t the slightest intention of letting the defender go.
"At five million euros a season. It wasn’t money that had convinced me, more the length of the deal. That’s always very important.
'Where’s the problem, Andrea? You can sort all that out with Galliani, can’t you? Take it as read.''You sure?''Absolutely positive.'
"No sooner were the words out of his mouth than he shot out of the room to tell the media: 'Andrea Pirlo is not for sale. He’s staying with Milan and he’ll finish his career right here.' As it turned out, I moved to Juventus. That’s Berlusconi all over, though. He’s theatrical and knows exactly what he wants."