Andrea Pirlo has revealed Chelsea rejected the chance to sign him when he was 30 because he was ‘too old’.
The former midfielder won a host of Serie A and Champions League titles across his 756-game club career, as well as lifting the 2006 World Cup with Italy.
Could Pirlo have played for Chelsea? Five things to know…
- Pirlo made 694 appearances for Italian clubs Brescia, Inter, Reggina, AC Milan and Juventus.
- After winning Serie A and Champions League titles, he finished his career at New York City FC.
- At 30 years old, Pirlo had the chance to join Chelsea.
- But the club rejected the midfielder, claiming he was ‘too old’.
- Pirlo also admits he rejected Manchester City in favour of joining Juventus in 2011.
But despite hitting the highest of heights in Italian football, Pirlo never managed to ply his trade in England, although he has now admitted to coming very close to joining both Chelsea and Manchester City.
“I had the chance to come [to the Premier League] with [Carlo] Ancelotti to Chelsea and with Manchester City when I went to Juventus,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Chelsea said that I was very old – 30 years old! And the other time I preferred to come to Juventus.
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“For sure it would have been a fantastic experience but I’m happy that I decided to stay in Italy.”
Although Pirlo rejected Man City in favour of Juventus, the Italian did finish his career at City’s sister club in MLS, New York City FC, making 62 appearances.
Pirlo names his best manager
Pirlo played under a number of world-class coaches during a glittering playing career, including Carlo Ancellotti and Max Allegri, but it is former Chelsea and now Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte who made the biggest impression on him.
“For me, Conte was best manager I had in my career,” he added. “At Chelsea he did good work – he won the Premier League and the FA Cup. Maybe he had a problem with the owner and now he’s free.
“If you see the history of the club over the last 10 years, they changed too many Coaches. The problem is not the Coach, maybe it’s the club.”
Pirlo, 40, also believes current Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri must be given more time by the club’s hierachy and supporters, following his Europa League success over Arsenal on Wednesday.
He continued: “It’s not easy for Sarri. He needs time to adapt the players to the new system. For me he is a very good Coach. The supporters have to stay very calm.”