Dennis Bergkamp has revealed that he rejected a move to Barcelona early in his career.
While at Ajax, Bergkamp was apparently approached by Johan Cruyff. His fellow Dutchman was Barcelona coach at the time and was rather keen on getting the talented forward to join him in Spain. However, Bergkamp opted to join Inter Milan instead.
“He never said it in so many words, but he wanted me to join him at Barcelona,” the legend told Four Four Two.
“He kept telling me all the teams not to go to, leaving Barcelona as the only one left!
“I always had the feeling I’d go to Italy, the biggest league at the time. I didn’t want to go to Milan because Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard had gone there.
“It came down to Juventus or Inter. We had a better feeling from the people at Inter. They made a lot of promises – which I found out later was something they did a lot.
“They said: “We’re going to play more offensive.” They did, but only for the first month!
“It wasn’t what I’d hoped for. But Italy was good for my development.
“I learned to be more professional, learned to play against two or three defenders, and to play with players who are there for themselves rather than for the team.”
Bergkamp was at Inter for just two years, making a total of 63 appearances across all competitions and scoring just 16 goals.
The Non-Flying Dutchman was signed by Arsenal in 1995 for a reported £7.5m – not bad back in those days.
As we all know, the forward ended his career in north London, scoring a total of 87 league goals in 315 appearances and going down as one of the best players to ever wear red and white. He was one of the best talents the Premier League has ever seen and it would have been a loss if he’d never come.
If Bergkamp had joined Barca, perhaps he would have had an even better career but it’s hard to imagine.
After a slow-ish start, Arsene Wenger came along and the forward blossomed. It was a match made in heaven and I can’t help but feel that if the Frenchman could have written down all the attributes his perfect footballer would have, the words would morph into a picture of Bergkamp.
Presumably, Bergkamp feels the same.
The ex-forward now works at Ajax as their assistant coach.