After a record breaking season at Juventus when he bagged eleven goals along with six assists, it looked like Adrien Rabiot was going to walk away into a lucrative contract somewhere in Europe or possibly the Premier League.
However, the France midfielder surprised everyone, most of all Juve fans, by turning around and signing a one-year extension with the Bianconeri over the summer.
Speaking for the first time since the announcement was made, Rabiot explained that coach Massimiliano Allegri had a big part to play in his decision.
“Obviously the coach wanted me to stay, and he talked to me a lot this year. Even on holiday he sent me many texts. Also some teammates as well.
“I spoke to Manna and Cherubini, it was extraordinary. Everyone showed me a lot of love. So above all the coach, but the others have also shown me a lot of love.”
Allegri has been a big supporter of Rabiot throughout, even when he was out of form and struggling, and the two have a rapport.
“The coach understood who I am and what I can give on the pitch. He also gives me this freedom, he pushed me so much to score goals, even in training right away. He always told me this.
“He still tells me today. It was important for me. He has given me the confidence to always go forward, to continue playing from match to match and to have these numbers.
“He is an incredible coach for me, even with young players he takes the time to explain things. This is why he is very important.”
The midfielder is one of the senior players in the side now and has an opportunity to be influential to some of the younger players coming through as well as new signing Timothy Weah.
“After four years here, I’m among the oldest, I can say that. In my career, five years at a club is a long time. Now I have a more diverse role, which is also why the club wanted me to help the younger players, set an example because we have many young players.
“I spoke to Timothy, I told him that here we work a lot, we want to win. He’s a good boy, he knows where he’s arrived, so all the young players must understand that here you have to work to grow. We talk to him in French, he speaks French well, but he wants to learn Italian.
“I only had a little time to talk to Timothy because he arrived a few days ago, but we’ll talk later. I told him that it’s a special club here, but even the young players returning from loans understood this and saw that there are a lot of pressure.
“You have to win every game, there are pressures that help you grow. For a player, Juventus are an important step in terms of work and mentality.”
It has been a difficult couple of seasons in Turin with off-field issues seemingly taking precedence over what was happening on the pitch.
“The last two seasons without trophies have been difficult. I came here to win. Juventus are a great club that have always won and will win again in the future.
“Two years without trophies is a long time for a club like Juve. The goal this year is about winning, I stayed for this too, to drag the team to win the Scudetto, the cup.
“I want to bring Juventus back to where they belong. Then I felt I hadn’t finished my job here. When I arrived here, we played in the Champions League and we won the Scudetto, and I want to experience these emotions again.”
Would he call Juventus home?
“Home means that I feel very comfortable here, I feel good here. When you go elsewhere, you don’t know what you’ll find. Here I have found an environment that I like, the people here on and off the pitch are extraordinary.
“It was a choice with my heart and I didn’t want to leave all this behind. The work didn’t end here for me, there are many things to do, which we need to improve. I think I can still grow. For these reasons, I stayed at Juventus.”