Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has revealed he was close to joining Barcelona in the summer of 2016, but eventually turned them down.
The Italy star, who is currently on international duty with the Azzurri preparing to take on Liechtenstein in a Euro 2020 qualifier following an impressive performance against Greece, has been in imposing form for Paris Saint-Germain so far this season.
And, speaking in an interview with L’Equipe as relayed by Calciomercato
The midfielder, who has been somewhat blighted by injury in the interim, explained: “They had proposed me something different and I think it’s normal to think about it for a few moments.”
Ultimately though, of course, he remained in the French capital, where has been since leaving Pescara in 2012. Asked about the move and his first few months in Paris, Verratti admitted: “I asked Leonardo [the sporting director] and [Carlo] Ancelotti if they knew me but I don’t think they knew me very much and I know they asked about me in Italy.
“It’s a strange story: so I always say that in football you also have need some luck.”
In his time in France, he has come under some scrutiny for his off-field lifestyle, but he was quick to leap to his own defence, protesting: “Whoever is a footballer is a person like many others.
“And we don’t do anything special. I can go out like any other person. If I have a free day I go out, but there was a moment when if I went out and was recognised all this turned into ‘Marco Verratti goes out every night’. It’s not like that at all.”