Cagliari President Tommaso Giulini reveals Nicolò Barella turned down Atletico Madrid before completing his Inter move.
The midfielder made the transfer in 2019 for a total €40m and was a key figure in their Scudetto campaign.
“It was difficult to keep hold of him in the final season at Cagliari,” Giulini told SO Foot.
“Atletico Madrid wanted him, Diego Simeone even called him up personally. When a Cagliari player receives a big offer from a side like Atletico Madrid, it’s not easy to turn that down, even tougher to remain focused on your current club for the whole season.
“However, Nicolò had probably his best campaign with us. It was natural for us to let him go to Inter at the end of that season, seeing as Antonio Conte’s side had very different ambitions to ours.
“Barella has grown so much during his time at Inter, above all in his mentality, and I am convinced he can become their future captain.”