Jermain Defoe has admitted that he had a chance to join Juventus in 2009 but chose to return to Tottenham Hotspur instead.
Defoe, who scored 143 goals and provided 32 assists in 362 appearances in all competitions across two spells at Tottenham (Transfermarkt), announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday.
The striker had a fantastic connection with the Spurs faithful during his time at the club and there was a huge feeling of disappointment among the fan base when the striker was let go by Juande Ramos in 2008.
However, Harry Redknapp replaced the Spaniard at the helm at Tottenham not long after and Defoe followed him from Portsmouth to White Hart Lane just 12 months on from leaving the club.
The striker played a crucial role in helping Tottenham qualify for the Champions League for the first time the subsequent season and continued banging in the goals with regularity before eventually leaving the North London club in 2014.
The 39-year-old has revealed that he had a chance to join Juventus before sealing a return to Spurs.
He told talkSPORT: “I try not to regret anything as things happen for a reason.
“I remember getting a phone call from my agent the day before I signed for Tottenham and said I’m taking you to Juventus.
“A club that size with its culture, that experience and that. Went back to Tottenham and loved it, Harry Redknapp signed me again.”
Defoe also spoke about his decision to hang up his boots, admitting that his age had started catching up with him.
He said: “I just believe it’s the right time. From the outside, people look in and maybe see the highlights and think I still look sharp.
“It doesn’t get easier as you get older. The more time that goes on, and you don’t play, it becomes more difficult. I didn’t want to block the path of someone else.
“Before I signed for Sunderland, there was probably a good six or seven weeks that I didn’t train at any real level. You try and get yourself back up to speed and it’s really difficult.
“A couple of times when I’ve played, even though you look sharp, you know you are a yard or two off. Or in training, I’m a yard off. I thought it was the right time with the niggles in the morning and the stiffness.”
Spurs Web Opinion
In hindsight, I feel Spurs (and Andre Villas-Boas) made a mistake by selling Defoe in 2014, particularly given that he was still scoring goals for fun at the time and how the Roberto Soldado transfer turned out. Given the longevity Defoe has had in his career, he could have easily played for Spurs for another couple of years.
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