Barella rejected Atletico Madrid offer and Simeone phone call

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese
  • 11 Jun 2021 09:15 BST
  • 3 min read
Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez, Inter

Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez, Inter

Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini has revealed that Nicolo Barella rejected an offer from Atletico Madrid in order to sign for Inter.

Barella joined the Nerazzurri for a fee that eventually surpassed €40 million in the summer of 2019.

The 24-year-old has been a revelation at San Siro, playing a key role as Inter won their first Scudetto in 11 years last season.

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Simeone called Barella

But Barella could have ended up at La Liga champions Atletico Madrid instead as he even received a personal call from coach Diego Simeone.

“It was difficult to keep hold of him in the final season at Cagliari,” Giulini told SO Foot.

“Atletico Madrid wanted him, Diego Simeone even called him up personally. When a Cagliari player receives a big offer from a side like Atletico Madrid, it’s not easy to turn that down, even tougher to remain focused on your current club for the whole season.

“However, Nicolò had probably his best campaign with us. It was natural for us to let him go to Inter at the end of that season, seeing as Antonio Conte’s side had very different ambitions to ours.

“Barella has grown so much during his time at Inter, above all in his mentality, and I am convinced he can become their future captain.”

Barella in 2020/21

Barella was a virtual ever-present during the 2020/21 campaign, making 36 Serie A appearances and scoring three goals.

Inter are experiencing a financial crisis and need to make up to €100 million in sales this summer.

However, Barella is not one of the players that the Nerazzurri are prepared to sacrifice as they see him as a cornerstone of the project moving forward.

He is currently preparing for Italy’s opening game against Turkey at Euro 2020.