Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has claimed to BT Sport that Manchester City were the Premier League club that came closest to signing him despite interest from Arsenal and Manchester United earlier in his career.
The 38-year-old joined the Italian champions in 2001 from Parma in a deal which made him the most expensive goalkeeper in history, and has gone on to play nearly 600 times for the club in the last decade and a half, winning six Serie A titles.
Voted Serie A goalkeeper of the year 10 times throughout his career, Buffon was understandably linked with moves to English clubs on numerous occasions since making his breakthrough at Parma in 1996.
When asked which club he came closest to joining he revealed that Manchester City tried to bring him to the Etihad Stadium as one of their first marquee signings around the time that they were taken over by the Abu Dhabi Group.
Buffon told BT Sport: "I remember when I was 20 years old in 1998 I had dinner once with [Arsene] Wenger from Arsenal. Then when I was at Parma, Manchester United definitely had their eyes on me for a long time with [Sir Alex] Ferguson
"Let's say that the most serious and direct approach I had was from Manchester City. They wanted to start their adventure by signing two or three more renowned players and I was one of them.
"That was 2007 or 2008 roughly. However, nothing came of it for various reasons."
Buffon is the most capped player in the history of Italian football, having played 154 times for his country since his debut in 1997 in an international career which has seen him keep goal at five World Cup finals.