Gareth Barry has revealed the conversation that convinced him to snub Liverpool and join Manchester City.
But Rafa Benitez wanted the Aston Villa star at Anfield, and dangled the Merseysiders’ rich European pedigree as a temptation – Liverpool had won the Champions League just four years earlier.
Barry, however, believed that City were selling him a future rather than a past, and signed up.
But it was a difficult decision at the time, and Barry reveals what swung it for him, in a meeting with City manager Mark Hughes.
“The one thing that stands out at the time when I was leaving Villa, and obviously Liverpool were interested – there’s one conversation that I always go back to,” he told Football Fancast.
“I spoke with Mark Hughes about the project and he said City are a train that’s going somewhere special, and you’d be foolish not to get on it.
“He mentioned a few players they were trying to sign and he mentioned the ambition of the owners and what they wanted to do on the training ground and eventually they saw the club winning Premier Leagues. That’s how I saw it and I got on that train!”
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The other players Hughes was in the market for in that summer of 2009 were Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, and Roque Santa Cruz.
That kind of hit-list made Barry realise City were deadly serious, and he feels that the train has been picking up speed ever since.
“I did see them winning trophies in the time I was there and, once clubs pick up that trophy and break their duck, it breeds confidence,” he said. “They’ve continued to bring in top class players and to improve everything around the club both on and off the pitch, and they’re a powerhouse of a club across the world.”