Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has told Calcio Mercato that he could have signed for Juventus in 2007 before joining Liverpool.
Mascherano, 31, has established himself as one of the world's most dominant defensive midfielders during a hugely successful career with some of the biggest clubs around.
With three La Liga titles and two Champions League winner's medals during his time with Barcelona, Mascherano has plenty to prove that he is one of the best - though finishing as a runner-up in the 2014 World Cup will remain a sore spot.
The Argentine also failed to win any silverware during his time with Liverpool, and Mascherano has now opened up about how he joined the Reds back in 2007.
Mascherano had spent a quiet five months at West Ham United following a stunning move from Corinthians after the 2006 World Cup, and having been frozen out under Alan Pardew at Upton Park, Mascherano moved on to join Liverpool initially on loan.
Mascherano formed a superb midfield trio alongside Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard, and has now told Calcio Mercato that his move to Anfield almost didn't happen, as he was preparing to join Juventus - only for then-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez to personally visit the player and tempt him into signing for Liverpool.
"It was January 2007. I was playing with West Ham and I had just met the Juventus board," said Mascherano. "I didn’t want to stay in England, because I thought I would have struggled in the Premier League. Then, Rafa Benitez literally knocked at my door saying that he wanted me to join Liverpool," he added.
"I asked him how it would have been possible for me to play at Anfield Road, as they already had Mohammed Sissoko, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. He convinced me, saying that none of them offered all the qualities that I had, and he was not lying," he added.
Liverpool fans will be delighted with Mascherano's decision, despite leaving for Barcelona five years ago, though West Ham supporters will wonder what might have been, having misused and then sold one of the top players in Europe.