Andrea Pirlo has revealed that Pep Guardiola once tried to talk him into making a move to Barcelona.
The World Cup winner was on the books at AC Milan at the time, with a pre-season friendly date taken in at Camp Nou in August 2010.
The game ended 1-1, with Barca prevailing on penalties, but the outcome meant little to either team.
Now Manchester City boss Guardiola was not overly concerned about the result, but he did go out of his way to track Pirlo down after the final whistle.
The talented midfielder was at the peak of his powers around that time and was considered to be a player that would have enhanced an already star-studded squad in Catalonia.
Pirlo told L’Equipe: “When I was at Milan, we played a friendly game at the Camp Nou and, after the game, Pep Guardiola called me into his office inside the stadium.
“He asked me if I would like to go and play under him at Barcelona. It was very nice for me, to have been asked to his office and told that. At that time, Milan would never have allowed me to leave though.”
Now 37 years of age, Pirlo is approaching the end of a distinguished playing career in Major League Soccer with New York City.
When the time comes to hang up his boots, the iconic playmaker will have plenty of fond memories to look back on.
He is, however, prepared to admit that a famous fixture from 2005 in Istanbul still haunts him, with Milan enduring an epic European collapse against Liverpool on the grandest of stages.
Pirlo added: “That Champions League final against Liverpool remains the worst experience of my career.
“I cried on the field, then returned to the dressing room and it was even worse.
“There was an atmosphere so surreal in there that I couldn’t even cry. Losing a Champions League final after being 3-0 up at half-time is really bad. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”