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De Gea.

David De Gea could have ended up at Juventus as a teenager

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It's fair to say David De Gea took a little while to get acclimatised with the physicality of the Premier League when he first joined Manchester United for big money back in the summer of 2011.

Then a fresh-faced 20-year-old, De Gea struggled at United - under Sir Alex Ferguson - who looked for someone to take over the crown left by the retired Dutchman Edwin van der Sar - something that De Gea has now firmly grabbed with both hands.

Spanish number one De Gea has improved dramatically in recent years and was part of a long-running transfer saga with Real Madrid for a couple of transfer windows before opting to sign a new, long-term contract with the Red Devils back in September 2015.

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But things could have turned out so differently for De Gea after it was revealed by Michael Rampulla, that the goalkeeper could have taken over the reigns from Gianluigi Buffon, who Juventus feared would depart when The Old Lady suffered relegation to Serie B ahead of the 2006-2007 campaign.

De Gea was with the Atletico Madrid youth system at the time, aged only 16 and tipped for the top from the youth coaches at the club.

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"The very first on that list was Spaniard De Gea, then he was very young. The best idea is that, given the tradition, Juve relies on an Italian goalkeeper," Rampulla admitted.

"He stayed, the great person that he is, but I was given a list of possible replacements," he concluded.

As it was, Juve icon Buffon remained with the Turin side and achieved promotion back to the top-flight with them and then going on to win Serie A for five consecutive seasons during the ten years since.

FYR Macedonia v Italy - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

Now 38, the Juve and Italy legend is still going strong for both club and country, for whom he appeared in every game for the Italians under Antonio Conte in Euro 2016.

However, AC Milan's 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma - who idolises Buffon - is breathing down his neck for a place in between the posts for the national team, with the young stopper now number one for his club side.

Would De Gea have made it in Italy and would he have progressed into the top talent that he is now had he joined Juve? Leave your views in the comments box below.

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Topics:
Gianluigi Buffon
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Spain Football
Juventus
Italy Football
David de Gea

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