Iconic Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has revealed that Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City have all made approaches for his services during a truly illustrious, trophy-laden career spanning more than two decades and 1,000 professional matches.
Former Parma stopper Buffon, who has spent the last 16 years with the same club after Juve made him the world's most-expensive goalkeeper back in 2001, is currently in the United Kingdom with his Bianconeri teammates ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid. The dominant Serie A giants will attempt to end their 21-year wait for a third European title against reigning champions Real in Cardiff on Saturday [3 June].
Reflecting on the opportunities he had to leave his homeland for the Premier League, the 39-year-old claimed that, as far as he was aware, there had been three serious attempts by major English clubs to sign him in years gone by.
"Two of them were when I was a young player at Parma, and I know Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger asked about me - and then, when Manchester City was taken over, I know they approached Juventus," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
Explaining why those moves fell by the wayside, the most capped European footballer of all time, unsurprisingly reiterated his loyalty to the club where he has won a plethora of major honours and appeared on more than 100 occasions in the Champions League.
He added: "There are many reasons why none of the deals happened. Even though the Premier League is a special league, I have always wanted to stay loyal to Juventus. I have always been very successful here. I would not have changed anything."
The Champions League is the one major trophy that still eludes Buffon. The 2006 World Cup winner has twice been a losing finalist, with Juventus defeated on penalties by Italian rivals AC Milan at Old Trafford in 2003 despite their reliable custodian saving from Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze in the shootout.
He was also between the posts 12 years later, when his impressive shot-stopping efforts proved to be in vain as Barcelona won their third title in six years courtesy of an exciting 3-1 victory at Berlin's Olympiastadion. Both teams were targeting a historic treble that night, as Juventus will be once again under Massimiliano Allegri in the Welsh capital after securing a record-breaking sixth successive domestic title and beating Lazio in the final of the Coppa Italia.