Juventus star Miralem Pjanic confirms he received offers, but “had no reason to change club. It’s my dream to win the Champions League and I’m in the ideal place.”
Ahead of the trip to Atletico Madrid, the Bosnian gave an interview with Il Giornale.
There were transfer rumours linking Pjanic to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in recent months.
“There was some interest, it’s true, but I had no reason to change club. I don’t know if Juventus will be my last big club, because transfers don’t just depend on the player, but also on the club and who might or might not need you in that role.”
Aaron Ramsey has been signed from Arsenal for next season, largely because there was no genuine alternative to Pjanic in the team.
“The midfield is the heart of the game. You need to be able to run and think quickly, do it all. One of the best qualities for a midfielder is to think a few steps ahead, see things the others don’t.
“I get compared to Andrea Pirlo, but he was absolutely world class, so it’s an unfair comparison. What we did share was our career trajectory, as we both started out in the trequartista role and ended up as deep-lying playmakers.”
Pjanic was asked if he would like to be coached by Zinedine Zidane.
“Everything he touched turned to gold, he is the number one, but I am already working with a great Coach now.”
Pirlo was able to win the Champions League with Milan, but not in his later years at Juventus.
“The truth is that winning is the only thing that matters. If you go forward three years, nobody remembers if you played badly, all you see written down in the history books is who won.
“A great player is only remembered by the trophies he was able to bring home.”
Pjanic now has Cristiano Ronaldo as a teammate, someone who has won every trophy imaginable.
“He has always been decisive in the big games, he was born to score important goals. And now we have him in our team. It’s up to us to make the most of his presence.
“When we have a chat, he tells me that he is happy and confident in the strength of this Juve side. I can see that the Champions League will come to Juventus over the next few years. It’s my dream to win it and I am in the ideal place to achieve that dream.”
Miralem Pjanic admits Atletico Madrid have a “similar philosophy” to Juventus, so the Bianconeri need to improve in the Champions League.
The first leg of the Round of 16 is at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday evening.
“Their philosophy is not easy to deal with at all, so it’s up to us to control both games and most importantly try to score a goal in Madrid,” the midfielder told newspaper Il Giornale.
“Atleti do have a lot of similarities with Juve, as both teams are solid, allow few spaces and don’t concede many goals. They are very aggressive when marking or pressing opposition players, whereas we have stronger individual talents. That is where we must make the difference over the two legs.”
The Champions League Final this season will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano.
“They’ll be even more motivated because they want to play the Final on home turf, having played two in the last five years. They’ve got the same record reaching the Final in that period as Juve.”
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and their 13-point lead at the top of the Serie A table has made Juventus among the favourites to finally win the Champions League, which would be their first since 1996.
“We feel strong, even if we’ve been knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Atalanta. Other than that, we’ve only had great results this season. There have been some more complicated matches lately, so we need to improve in two or three areas when facing these knockout ties.
“We’ve conceded too many goals recently and it is not like us. The team must defend as a unit and when I say all together, I really mean it. Even the strikers must participate in helping the defence.
“This is an important year and we’ve got to focus.”
Yet Juventus have already lost two out of six Champions League group games, at home to Manchester United and away at Young Boys.
“We should’ve won 4-0 against Manchester United that night. We’ve proved many times that we are strong, but people always want to create a sense of alarm around us. We’re not worried.”