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Revealed: Pirlo agreed to join Real Madrid after 2006 World Cup

Andrea Pirlo at AC Milan
"Pirlo en una falta" by Jan S0L0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Italy international was one of the most in-demand midfielders in Europe after winning the World Cup with Azzurri.

Andrea Pirlo has confirmed he had an agreement in place to join Real Madrid from AC Milan in 2006.

Pirlo’s legendary career at Milan started after a move from Inter in 2001. After winning the World Cup in Germany, the Italy international was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, who had just signed Fabio Capello as their new manager.

“The World Cup had just ended and there was all the Calciopoli mess. There was a chance that Milan could play in Serie B and Fabio Capello had moved to Real Madrid. I had spoken to him and the directors and we had an agreement,” Pirlo told Radio Serie A.

The infamous Calciopoli scandal saw Juventus being relegated to Serie B, while Milan, Lazio, and Fiorentina faced points deduction and fines. Pirlo’s ultimate decision to stay at San Siro paid off when he won his second Champions League trophy with the Rossoneri at the end of the 2006-07 season.

The Italy legend added: “When I arrived for Milan’s pre-season, they told us we would play in Serie A with a point deduction. I wasn’t sure because I had decided to go there [Real Madrid], but coming back to Milanello I met Adriano Galliani and my agent and we agreed to continue the adventure.”