Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has revealed Manchester City attempted to sign him in 2016, and approached him again last summer.
Bonucci, 34, has enjoyed a trophy-laden career exclusively in Italy, turning out for the likes of Juventus, Milan and Inter, as well as acquiring 111 caps for the national side, in which he won Euro 2020 in the summer.
The Juve stalwart recently put in a valiant display as Massimiliano Allegri’s side kept a clean sheet and secured a 1-0 win over European champions and Premier League heavyweights Chelsea in the Champions League group stages.
That result in Turin on Wednesday night was only the third time Bonucci has faced the Blues during his career, meeting the west Londoners in the 2012/13 groups, but his duels with the club could have been more regular had City succeeded in their attempts to sign him.
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When Pep Guardiola first moved to City in 2016, Bonucci has now revealed the club came agonisingly close to securing his signature, only for the Italian giants to pull out at the eleventh hour. Two more attempts would following in the ensuing years, but both fell flat.
“I had this dream of being coached by Pep,” Bonucci told The Athletic. “The closest we came was in 2016. I was on the brink of joining City. We were down to the very last details then Juventus decided not to sell.
“We decided to stay together. Then, when I went to AC Milan, I could have gone to City but several things had to fall into place for it to happen. I’d also given my word to Milan. Last year, I spoke to Pep again.
“He wanted me but I told him: ‘Juventus is my home. I’m happy here. I feel at home here’. I wanted to make up the ground I lost by going to Milan for a season.
“Becoming a symbol of Juventus again is the most exciting thing I could be doing in my career right now.”