“I was not prepared to arrive at a club like Barca. I was 17 years old, I was too young and I was starting my professional career. I was not ready to take the step of joining a club of the magnitude of Barca,” Miralem Pjanic told Diario SPORT.

“I preferred to go to Olympique de Lyon: I knew French football, I had been at Metz for years, and at that time I believed that the best thing was to go to the best club in France at that time, Lyon. The best thing for me was to keep learning, to keep training without missing minutes of play.

“When I look back and think about my career, I realize that whatever team it is, Metz, Lyon, Roma or Juventus, I was always going step by step, growing, having minutes and becoming important,” he added.

Barcelona had the Bosnian on their radar in 2008, but he decided choose the move to Lyon instead as the Catalans couldn’t as well grant in a place in the first team.

“For the B-team. But I think I chose well,” the 30-year-old continued.

“It felt like that at the time. In my career, I have always been able to choose, following my instincts, and I think I have done well. I remember that I was also at Uli Hoenness’s house, Bayern loved me at that time too, but for me, the best thing was to stay in France.

“I never wanted to fly too high, or too quick, but to go step by step. And at that time the only way to learn was to keep playing.”

After three years in France with Lyon he made the move to AS Roma before joining Juventus in 2016.

“Yes, we spoke two or three times in recent years,” Miralem concluded. “But it could not be because the clubs did not agree on terms, either with Roma or with Juve. Now things have turned out well and I am very proud to be part of this team.

“I have always considered myself a Barca fan.”

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