Giorgio Chiellini will go down as one of the best Italian centre-backs of the 21st century. While the veteran is still plying his trade for LAFC in Major League Soccer, he will always be known for his spell at Juventus.
Chiellini plied his trade for the Bianconeri for 17 long years, featuring in 561 competitive matches in the process. During his time at Juve, he won an astonishing nine Serie A titles and five Italian Cups.
He was also a part of the Italy squad that won the European Championship in 2021. However, at one point, Chiellini was close to joining Real Madrid.
In a recent interview, the Italian has confirmed he was close to joining the Spanish giants. He said it was an honour to have Real Madrid interested in his services, but admits he is proud of what he achieved at Juventus.
“I’ve only been really close to Real Madrid once in my career. Davide Lippi, my agent, knows better than me because these things didn’t interest me a lot. I’ve always been someone who is very focused on playing but at that time we were really close to my move to Real Madrid,” Chiellini said (h/t Tuttosport).
“In retrospect, I can say that it would have been a good experience because I’m someone who likes to travel a lot,” he added.
However, Chiellini added that he might not have suited to Spanish football and might have only stayed in La Liga for 2-3 years.
“I think I’m not a suitable player for Spanish football. I would have done like Cannavaro and Samuel who went to play in Spain and lasted 2-3 years there,” he said.
“Real Madrid’s interest was an honour, but I can say that I’m very happy with how it went afterwards. Being able to write the history of a club like Juventus is not something for everyone.”
The 38-year-old was most notably close to joining Real Madrid in the summer of 2010. He was at the peak of his career at the time, but the defender had confirmed in the past that it was Jose Mourinho who blocked the deal.
The Portuguese mastermind was the head coach of Real Madrid at the time. While most fans will not regret the way the club have evolved since, one would only wonder what the future would have looked like for Real Madrid, if Chiellini had joined the club.
The former Italian international could have built a formidable partnership with another legendary defender in the form of Sergio Ramos.
Talking about his current stint at LAFC, Chiellini said his love for experiencing new cultures is what drew him to America. “I’m someone who likes to travel a lot. I had missed discovering new cultures and maybe it’s also one of the reasons why I’ve now come to play football in the United States,” he said.
Real Madrid considered signing 25-year-old Bundesliga defender on loan after Alaba’s injury
David Alaba’s ACL rupture towards the end of 2023 sent a wave of sudden panic within the Real Madrid coaching staff and during the January transfer market, the team from the Spanish capital explored several opportunities.
In that context, a report from AS has affirmed that Real Madrid considered signing Union Berlin’s Diogo Leite on loan until the end of the season, but the move and the entire thought eventually died out.
Real Madrid liked what they saw
Leite was identified by Real Madrid as a player with significant potential, possessing excellent ball control, and having demonstrated his capabilities at the highest level.
However, rather than exploring a permanent transfer, the possibility of a loan until the end of the season was under consideration, taking into account the specific circumstances faced by Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Notably, the 25-year-old played the full 90 minutes in both matches against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu (1-0) and at his home (3-2) in the Champions League group stages.
Summer move not being considered
Leite, a product of FC Porto youth academy, has gained valuable experience under Pepe’s guidance while at the Portuguese club which made him Union Berlin’s fourth most expensive signing in history.
As of today, though, Real Madrid’s summer transfer target list excludes central defenders, with the exception of Rafa Marin, who is on loan to Alaves.
Interestingly enough, Leite has garnered a strong reputation in the Bundesliga, and sources indicate that Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen is expressing interest in acquiring his services.
As far as Real Madrid are concerned, the likes of Eder Miliato and Alaba would return by the beginning of the next season and with Antonio Rudiger also available, the centre-back positions would be more or less covered.