In the build-up to challenging for the one major career honour which has evaded him, Gianluigi Buffon has revealed the two legendary Premier League managers who tried to sign him in the past.
Buffon has been an almost permanent fixture in the Juventus team since they broke the bank to sign him from Parma back in 2001.
The €53 million fee was a record at the time, but has proved outstanding value for money for the Old Lady, as ‘Gigi’ has helped them to almost every trophy possible in his time there – but it could all have been so different.
He’s now preparing for his second Champions League final with the Italian giants in three years, having lost out to Barcelona in the 2015 final in Berlin.
Juventus have already exacted their revenge on the Catalans this year, winning 3-0 in Italy before shutting their opponents out at the Camp Nou.
It was the stand-out result of an impressive European campaign – especially since Barcelona had overturned a 4-0 first-leg defeat to PSG in the previous round – but would undoubtedly be topped by victory in the final.
They travel to Cardiff for the fixture, which will see them take on in-form Spanish champions Real Madrid, another team who have impressed in all competitions.
But, with kick-off approaching, Buffon says he might not have become the Juventus legend he is today if either of two Premier League managers had gotten their way – with a third club also making a later bid for his services.
Gigi said: “From what I know, there have been three serious times when English clubs have made an approach for me.
“I know Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger asked about me.
“When Manchester City was taken over, I know they approached Juventus.”
Looking back, it’s hard to envision him playing in any colours other than those of Juventus, but what a signing he’d have been for any team in England.
Well, when asked about rejected a move to England, Buffon said: “There are many reasons why none of the deals happened.
“Even though the Premier League is a special league, I have always wanted to stay loyal to Juventus.
“I have always been very successful here. I would not have changed anything.”
The Old Lady were handed a boost this weekend ahead of the final as Sami Khedira came through an hour of football against Bologna.
The majority of Juve’s first choice players were rested with the big game in mind, but midfield enforcer Khedira proved he will be fit enough to play in Cardiff, much to the delight of everyone associated with the club.
The former Real Madrid man has been key for the Italians all season, and they’ll need him at his best if they’re to end their long wait to lift club football’s most prestigious trophy.