One of the fastest rising stars in Serie A rejected the chance to join Man Utd according to his brother, who also revealed the advice he was given by Cristiano Ronaldo after seeing his potential.
It’s fair comment to say Juventus’ season has not unfolded as they hoped. The Old Lady bowed out of the Champions League at the group stage after suffering five defeats from six.
They did transfer to the Europa League where they’ll face French side Nantes in the play-off round. However, that is scant consolation for a club of Juve’s stature.
Their fortunes on the domestic front were also suffering earlier in the season. Indeed, they won just three of their opening nine matches as the pressure began to mount on manager Max Allegri.
However, with their backs against the wall Juventus began to turn to youth. Midfielder Nicolo Fagioli was among those given a chance to oust the struggling senior stars and the 21-year-old grasped the nettle with both hands.
Fagioli has started three of Juve’s last four in the league and was a half-time substitute in the other. Juventus have won all four as part of a wider purple patch of form that’s seen them rise up to third.
Fagioli scored in the victories against both Lecce and Inter Milan and a starting role in central midfield is now his to lose.
It’s a fine success story for Juventus, though according to Nicolo’s brother, Alessandro, the victory could well have been Man Utd’s.
Speaking to Tuttosport, Alessandro revealed Man Utd came calling when Nicolo was at former club Cremonese.
Nicolo rose through Cremonese’s ranks before being poached by Juventus in 2015. Man Utd were apparently among those who tried to secure his services at the time, though his brother explained why he only had eyes for Turin.
“He said no to Man Utd”
“Nicolò is a mummy’s boy, he has never liked distance,” said Alessandro (via Football Italia).
“When he was at the Cremonese youth team, he said no to Manchester United: he didn’t feel ready to leave Italy.
“And for Juve he preferred to decline the interest of Inter, with whom he auditioned [along with] Milan and Atalanta.
“Nicolò’s Bianconera faith prevailed over everything.”
Alessandro then spoke about his brother’s relationship with manager Allegri as well as the most talked about man in football right now – Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo has hit the headlines for his explosive interview with TalkTV. His second stint at United upon re-joining from Juventus has devolved into something of a nightmare.
Ronaldo crossed paths with Fagioli while at Juventus and per Alessandro, predicted Fagioli would become a bona fide superstar.
Ronaldo knew Fagioli would go far
On Nicolo’s relationship with Allegri firstly, Alessandro said: “Very professional, in recent weeks he has told him many times that he had to remain calm.
“He stood by him, promising him that the right moment would come, it did.
“In the past Nicolò also clung on to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the locker room, they had a wonderful bond.
“Ronaldo always confessed to him that he saw great talent in him. So he advised him to work twice as hard, to never give up.”
Ronaldo recently made a point of claiming the younger stars of the current generation aren’t as hard-working as he was and still is.
Clearly, he saw boundless potential in Fagioli and tried to steer him in the right direction. Whether Fagioli heeded the advice is unknown, though his recent displays for Juventus certainly suggest they’ve found a diamond in the rough that could so easily have been United’s.
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