Juventus and Italy stalwart Gianluigi Buffon has claimed that he came close to joining Barcelona over a decade ago.
35-year-old Buffon, who has made more than 350 appearances for the Turin-based outfit, revealed that he could have joined the Catalan giants prior to his eventual move to Juve from Serie A rivals Parma during the summer of 2001.
"I could have joined Barcelona in 2001," Buffon told Mediaset in an interview that was quoted by Goal.com.
Despite being offered the evidently very real chance to join the illustrious La Liga champions, however, Buffon claims he opted to remain in his native country after deliberations with his family.
And, what's more, it is a decision that the reliable stopper clearly still believes was the correct one at that stage of his glittering career.
"However, I decided to join Juventus after discussing it with my father and I'm still grateful for it. Being at Juventus is a unique experience and has brought me a lot of satisfaction.
"And let's not forget that Barcelona back then were nothing like the team they are now," he added.
And while Barcelona are once again set to be on the look out for a new 'keeper with Victor Valdes having repeatedly re-iterated his desire to pursue a fresh challenge following the climax of the current season, there is little chance of them re-visiting a deal for Buffon after the veteran signed a new contract at the Juventus Stadium.