The Premier League is often considered the best in club football, but some of the greatest players have never played there.
There are many reasons why the Premier League is considered the best, from its global visibility, the quality of its football and its fans creating electric atmospheres.
Unlike most other major European leagues, it is often much more competitive and open.
It also means that it attracts some of the best players in world football, but not all of them.
Here, talkSPORT.com takes a look at some of those who missed the opportunity and the reasons why they never made a move.
Messi always looked like a one-club man at Barcelona and then their financial troubles changed the game.
They couldn’t afford to keep him anymore and he ended up joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 in a tearful exit.
Messi was linked with a move to Man City at the time and it made a lot of sense given they were being coached by his former manager Pep Guardiola.
The previous year, Messi even called Guardiola to tell him he wanted to join City as he desperately tried to terminate his contract with Barca.
Chelsea also reportedly came close to pulling off a bold move for him in 2014, when his transfer release clause was set at €250m.
However, that never materialized and sadly the Premier League never got to see one of the greatest players of his generation.
Pirlo is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders to ever play, but he spent most of his career playing in Italy.
He won six Serie A titles playing for AC Milan and Juventus, while winning the Champions League twice with Milan.
The 2006 World Cup winner had the opportunity to join Chelsea and Man City during his career but it never came to fruition.
In 2009, Chelsea expressed an interest in signing him before deciding against the move due to his age.
Two years later, Man City were interested but Pirlo rejected them to join Juve.
The only other league he played in outside of Italy was a brief stint in Major League Soccer with New York City FC.
The Brazilian legend was one of the most entertaining footballers of all time, but sadly he never graced the Premier League.
In 2003, Manchester United arrived less than 48 hours after landing Ronaldinho from Paris Saint-Germain.
Then Barcelona called and United missed out on the World Cup superstar winner.
The Brazilian once recalled: “It almost happened with United. It was a matter of 48 hours, but Rosell had told me long before I received the offer: “If I become president of Barça, will you come?” I said yes.
“It was just a matter of detail with United when Rosell called to say he was going to win the election there. And I promised him I would play for Barca.”
With 30 million euros, a huge sum 20 years ago, Ronaldinho remains one of the finest deals in transfer history.
But imagine what could have happened at the Theater of Dreams.
Ronaldo was one of the most devastating strikers of the past 30 years and would have been perfect for the Premier League.
He has spent much of his career in Italy and Spain with Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Ronaldo amassed an incredible club record of 352 goals in just 518 games, plus 62 in 98 appearances for Brazil.
After his retirement, he spent a lot of time living and studying in London.
And Ronaldo actually encouraged young Brazilians to join the Premier League.
“It’s definitely the right thing to do (Brazilians coming to the Premier League),” he said in 2014.
“Due to the nature of football here, which has a lot of tackling, a lot of attacking and forward play, it’s definitely a good decision for young Brazilians to come to the Premier League.”
Zidane came close to making the Premier League twice… no, it wasn’t Manchester United or Liverpool. It was Blackburn and Newcastle who missed out.
In 1995, Blackburn beat Manchester United for the Premier League title and were looking to build on that success.
Kenny Dalglish wanted to sign Zidane, who was impressing at the time with Bordeaux, but owner Jack Walker had other ideas.
“Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” Walker reportedly said of the transfer.
A year later, in 1996, Newcastle had Zizou within their reach and could have signed him for just £1.2million.
Then boss Kevin Keegan was offered the chance to land the eventual World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner… but he said no because his recruiter in France hadn’t rated him.
What a mistake that turned out to be.
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