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Leonardo Bonucci has admitted to almost signing for Manchester City earlier this year, with Pep Guardiola reportedly a big fan of the Juventus legend.
Bonucci, who played a key role in Italy's triumphant Euro 2020 campaign this summer, has been speaking about City's interest in him over the years.
Rather than John Stones or Ruben Dias arriving at the Etihad, it could have easily been the 34-year-old from Viterbo instead.
In fact, as the defender attests to, the biggest chance of the transfer happening was back in 2016 - Guardiola's first year in England.
The Spaniard's opening game as manager of City saw him choose to play Aleksander Kolorov at Centre-back, which spoke to his obvious lack of trust in the crop of defenders he inherited.
Bonucci was therefore targeted to try and alleviate that issue.
"I had this dream of being coached by Pep (Guardiola). The closest was in 2016, "the veteran central defender told The Athletic.
"I was on the brink of joining Manchester City. We were down to the very last details then Juventus decided not to sell. We decided to stay. Then when I went to AC Milan, I could have gone to Manchester City."
Bonucci went on to explain why, in both instances, the move didn't happen. After a disastrous spell at Milan, the Italian would return to Juventus in 2018 - a club he'd previously spent seven seasons at.
Unwilling to say goodbye to The Old Lady for a second time, Bonucci admits that he had to once again turn down Guardiola's advances earlier this year.
"But several things had to fall into place for it to happen. I'd also given my word to Milan. Last year, I spoke to Pep (Guardiola) again. He wanted me but said: 'Juventus is my home. I'm happy here. I feel at home here'."
With the likes of Dias, Stones and Aymeric Laporte now playing so well for City, it is arguably for the best that the move fell through, as Bonucci is now set to spend the rest of his career at the club he calls home.
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