Former Liverpool star Alberto Aquilani has revealed that he regrets his decision to leave the club back in 2010, citing a Europa League semi final defeat against Atlético Madrid as the catalyst for his move to Juventus.
Aquilani moved to Anfield for €20m in 2009 and he would go on to make 28 appearances for club in his maiden year in England, scoring two goals and claiming six assists.
But the former AS Roma academy star claims that it was Diego Forlan's decisive stoppage-time goal in the Europa League semi final, which set up a final against Fulham for Atlético, that convinced Aquilani of forcing through a loan move back to Italy that summer.
"It was a very beautiful experience," Aquilani told Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) ahead of Liverpool's Champions League semi final against Roma on Tuesday.
"I was 24 and I arrived with an ankle injury that kept me out for a dozen weeks, but I remember [Rafa] Benitez always protected me and, in the end, it was a good season.
"It’s a shame we got eliminated in the semi finals of the Europa League against Atlético Madrid when they scored in the last minute and broke our dream.
"In hindsight, I regret having wanted to leave. It’s true that Benitez and Eduardo Macia weren’t there anymore, but I would have done better to stay."
Aquilani would spend time on loan at Juventus and AC Milan before eventually leaving the club on a permanent basis in 2012, where he joined Fiorentina for just €2m. The 33-year-old has since gone on to have spells with Sporting CP, Sassuolo and Pescara, but he now plys his trade in La Liga with Las Palmas.