Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he tried to sign Steven Gerrard while boss at AC Milan but his bond with Liverpool was ‘unbreakable’.
Ancelotti managed Milan from 2001-2009, leading the Italian side to two UEFA Champions League titles among a host of honours.
He admits he would have loved to have paired Gerrard with Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo but the Liverpool skipper could not be persuaded to leave Anfield and head to the San Siro.
Ancelotti told The Sun: “Gerrard’s a leader. A great player, the most important figure that Liverpool have. He is the Paolo Maldini of Liverpool.
“He’s one of the players I would have loved to have coached. And I thought about him so many times in the past when I was at Milan.
“But it was impossible because he was very much linked with Liverpool. We had sounded him out but Gerrard’s bond with Liverpool was unbreakable.
“I don’t remember exactly what year it was but we did try. Of course, I wanted to pair him up with Pirlo, it was a fantastic combination. Putting Gerrard in midfield with Pirlo, it would have been fantastic.”
The Real Madrid boss also admits he thought about signing current Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli while he was boss at Paris Saint-Germain but he decided upon Zlatan Ibrahimovic instead.
He added: “I never coached Balotelli. I never had the chance to sign him when I was at Milan.
“The only time we thought of Balotelli was when I was at Paris Saint-Germain because he’d played a great Euro 2012. He scored twice against Germany.
“But then it came out we could get Ibrahimovic so we went for Ibrahimovic. But Balotelli is a player I like.
“It was only a question of preferring Ibrahimovic.”