Pirlo: I don't regret rejecting Real Madrid

The Juventus midfielder had the chance to join Los Blancos nine years ago but elected to stay at AC Milan, with whom he won the Champions League the following season

Andrea Pirlo says that while he regards Real Madrid as “the biggest team in the world”, he does not regret turning down the chance to move to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2006.

The Juventus midfielder, who will face Los Blancos in Turin on Tuesday, was plying his trade at AC Milan at the time and considered leaving the Rossoneri after they were implicated in Calciopoli, an infamous refereeing scandal that rocked Italian football.

However, Pirlo ultimately decided against accepting erstwhile Madrid coach Fabio Capello’s offer to join him in the Spanish capital that summer.

“Capello called me in 2006,” the playmaker is quoted as saying by AS. “Milan had problems with the Calciopoli scandal and the deal was nearly done. 

“But then everything was sorted out and my contract was renewed.

“Madrid is Madrid. There’s nothing more to say. It’s the biggest team in the world.

“But regrets? No. That following season, in fact, we won the Champions League at AC Milan.”

Current Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was in charge of the San Siro side at the time and Pirlo is looking forward to being reunited with his former coach at Juventus Stadium.

“He’s like a father to me,” the 35-year-old stated. “We spent many years together. 

“He got me playing my best football in a different position, further back. He changed my role on the pitch. 

“I lived indescribable times with him.”

However, Pirlo is now intent on helping Juve end Ancelotti’s bid to lead Madrid to a historic second successive Champions League title at the semi-final stage.

“We must remember that there’s a second leg,” the Italian international added. “It’s 180 minutes. 

“The first leg is vital and needs to be played intelligently, with prudence and confidence.

“We have a dream to follow, and there’s nothing to lose, but we can’t get carried away because of that.”