Inter Milan icon Javier Zanetti has revealed that he rejected the chance to join Manchester United out of loyalty to the Nerazzurri.
Zanetti said he could never bring himself to leave the San Siro despite interest from United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The 43-year-old, who played as a full-back and in midfield, spent nearly 20 years in Milan and despite a barren trophy-less early spell after he signed in 1995, he eventually managed to become successful.
Zanetti claimed five Serie A titles, one Champions League, one UEFA Cup and four Coppa Italia crowns whilst with Inter.
So his decision to stay, he believes, was justified.
Speaking exclusively in FourFourTwo, Zanetti said: “There were some firm rumours of Manchester United wanting to sign me during the late ’90s. I once saw Alex Ferguson in an airport while I was in England with my wife.
“I once saw Alex Ferguson in an airport while I was in England with my wife.
“We talked a bit about football, but I was always centered in my idea of staying with Inter, even in those complicated years, and it would have been difficult for me to go under any circumstances.
“It wasn’t just Manchester United, there were other big clubs as well, but my love for Inter always tipped the scales.
“I was confident that their moment would eventually come. I would speak about it with president [Massimo] Moratti and my family,” added Zanetti, who won 143 caps for Argentina.
“Being captain, I wanted to leave an important mark on the club. Yes there were hard times, but the management showed trust in the squad being built and we worked together to achieve the goals we wanted for so long.
“When you sign for Inter, the club makes you think that you are part of a family, like a new son.”