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‘Joining Spurs would have been treason'

Alessandro Costacurta

Alessandro Costacurta has revealed that he chose not to sign for Tottenham Hotspur when he was younger because it would have been “high treason”.

The legendary AC Milan defender received an offer to join Gerry Francis’ side in 1996 but, although he was tempted by the prospect of playing in the Premier League, he could not be disloyal to his Arsenal-supporting roots.

“The idea of living in London was very exciting,” Costacurta told the official matchday programme. “But I finally refused and you know why? Because I couldn’t betray my English love. The truth is that I’ve been a keen Arsenal fan since my childhood, and playing for ‘our’ bitter rivals would have been high treason.

“When I was younger I liked the Arsenal shirt, the stadium, and some of the players from the 1980s such as Liam Brady. And I’ve always gone against the tide. All my friends were Manchester United or Liverpool fans, so I picked Arsenal and I’ve never changed my mind.”

Costacurta finally got the chance to play at Highbury in the 1995 European Super Cup, and the defender will never forget the goalless first leg in north London.

“The first game is possibly one of the favourite matches of my entire career,” he said. “Not so much because of the game itself, which was very intense but perhaps not very exciting as the final score was a 0-0 and the only time we were really under threat was at set pieces.

“It was more for the setting of Highbury. Emirates is wonderful and over time it will gain its own mythical aura, but Highbury was unique. It’s up there along side Anfield as the stadium of my dreams. But if I had to pick one it would Highbury.”

 

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