The Italian international maestro, now 33 years of age and well in to the twilight of his career, confirmed that he had indeed opened contract negotiations with the West London club after the Blues had agreed a fee with his former club AC Milan.
He had been approached to join his former boss Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge in 2009 and was on the verge of signing a contract to reunite with the boss who had just arrived himself.
He admitted the reason the transfer fell through was due to Milan’s reluctance to sell him at the time.
“Actually, Milan wouldn’t let me go. I have a very strong connection with Ancelotti so I was in touch with him when he went to Chelsea and I’m still in touch with him now he’s at Paris Saint-Germain.”
Carlo Ancelotti had taken the reigns at Chelsea on the back of winning two Champion’s League titles with Milan and continued his success by claiming the English Premier League title and the FA Cup trophy in his first season in England.
“I had already started negotiating with the people at Chelsea but then finally Milan didn’t let me go. That’s why I stayed.”
The Italian veteran, now regarded as one of the best Italian footballers of all time, suggested he would have liked to have played for the current European champions and implied he perhaps regretted his club would not allow the switch to go ahead.
“Certainly it would have been a different experience that I’d have liked, especially when I was 30 years old. So why not? But unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
It would be hard to imagine where the Juventus maestro would have fit in to the Chelsea team which, at that point, still contained a spine of players bought in the Mourinho-era.
Frank Lampard was at the peak of his powers and Michael Essien had taken over the role operated by Claude Makelele. Perhaps if the Blues had have signed Andrea Pirlo, they might have won the Champion’s League sooner – it would have given opposition defenders nightmares, the idea of Pirlo the architect and Didier Drogba on the end of his final ball.
image: © Jan S0L0