Chelsea almost signed Andrea Pirlo

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Chelsea almost signed Italian superstar Andrea Pirlo in 2009, according to the player's autobiography.

The book - serialised in this instance by the London Evening Standard - features a number of interesting and intriguing revelations about Pirlo's career, with the claim that he had an agreement to link-up with former mentor Carlo Ancelotti during his spell in the Premier League among the most eye-catching.

However, sadly for Chelsea fans, the move from AC Milan never materialised due to the determined influence of a certain Silvio Berlusconi.

"Silvio Berlusconi had a difficult task that day – convincing me to stay. Persuading me to reopen a suitcase that was already on the check-in belt, ready to be weighed and then sent on its way," Pirlo writes.

"It was August 2009 and I’d reached agreement with Chelsea, the club where Carlo Ancelotti had just come in as manager. Carlo was like a father and a teacher for me, a kind, friendly man who knew how to make things fun. I’d spent the best years of my career with him.

"If you’re a player who wants to get on and give everything, you won’t find anyone better than him Ancelotti’s even more impressive than Carlo Mazzone back in my Brescia days. You wouldn’t see the latter on the training pitch right up until the Thursday. He’d stay in the dressing room, wrapped in a massive jacket out of the cold while his assistant took the session."

"Carlo Ancelotti was my motivation for agreeing to head to London. But, in the meantime, Berlusconi had pulled out a piece of paper. This time there were loads of names with ticks next to them, and one that had been circled."

Pirlo - who would have been 30 at that time - goes on to explain how Berlusconi told him the was the 'symbol' of Milan and how they could not lose him after also selling Kaka that summer in a record deal to Real Madrid.

As it was, Pirlo explains, Milan wanted too much money for his services and apparently also pushed for the inclusion of Branislav Ivanovic in any deal - something that Chelsea did not have the slightest interest of agreeing to.

World Cup winner Pirlo did eventually leave Milan, of course, making the switch across Serie A to reigning champions Juventus on a free transfer in 2011.

Chelsea, meanwhile, went on to win a Premier League/FA Cup that season under Ancelotti before he departed Stamford Bridge the following summer after failing to replicate that initial success.

Might this have been different with Pirlo? How would the majestic pass-master and set-piece specialist have adapted to life in the Premier League?

These are questions that now, sadly, will probably never be answered. Although Pirlo is still going strong at 34, you wouldn't imagine that he has too many years left at the top level and it is very difficult to see him leaving Juventus before his illustrious career comes to a close.

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