Publish Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 3:55
Paolo Di Canio explained why he decided to reject a move to Manchester United to remain at West Ham in 2001.
Di Canio spent eight years in England, playing for Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton Athletic, before returning to Italy in 2004 for Lazio.
He spent most of his time in the Premier League playing for Hammers, scoring 51 goals in 141 games in all competitions.
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However, he had the opportunity to leave West Ham for Man Utd in 2001, when Sir Alex Ferguson called him on Christmas Day, asking if he wanted to join the Red Devils, who were the Premier League champions at the time.
"I thought [the phone call] was a joke," said Di Canio in Download Talk podcast.
“I thought you were my friend from Italy.
“My stomach gave a little because it makes you think that you underestimated yourself, that you are bigger than you thought.
“Manchester United called you, try to convince him to move because they want you. For a few minutes, you feel big and strong.
“It was strange to say no to Sir Alex. I said 'thank you, 1000 times thank you, but I can't. West Ham is the family that warmed me up at the worst time of my life, I'm the captain, I can't do it. & # 39; "
Regarding Ferguson's reaction, Di Canio added: “[Ferguson] told me: & # 39; Paolo, respect for that, I love people who think that way. You are the man I thought you were & # 39; he continued.
“I moved to West Ham not in the normal way, at the worst time of my life.
"In the end, I stayed at West Ham and I don't regret it, even if United became the best, I won the Champions League, winning the leagues.
"I would never change by winning the leagues for the four and a half years I wore the West Ham shirt."
When playing in the Premier League, Di Canio continued: “I will never forget the eight years that I had in England, they were the most important for me as a person.
“I became a different person in England, a person with morals, more respect for others. For that, I have to thank the English. "
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