Legendary Italian striker Christian Vieri has admitted that he solely joined Atletico Madrid in 1997 for the money.
The former Juventus and Inter star memorably arrived at the Vicente Calderon for €10m and went on to score an impressive 29 goals in 32 appearances for Los Colchoneros, before returning to his homeland via Lazio a year later, but he concedes the move was fully motivated by his “wallet”.
“One day, [former Juve general manager Luciano] Moggi called to speak with me,” he said in an excerpt of his upcoming biography released by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I go to his office and in there was my agent and [sporting director Roberto] Bettega.
“Moggi, in his quiet way of speaking, with his eyes almost closed, said he was ready to improve my contract but that he couldn’t go beyond 2bn lire per season.
“Atletico offered me three and half, so I said, ‘I’m going to Spain’, and the meeting ended at that moment.
“I admit, I decided by only thinking about my wallet. If I could go back in time, I would’ve stayed there.
“On the eve of Atleti-PAOK [a UEFA Cup match], I spoke to [Paulo] Futre, my reference point [at Atleti] and aide to the President.
“I said, ‘you have to tell the President that if I score three goals in this match then he must give me a Ferrari 550 Maranello’.
“Futre said, ‘Okay, if you score hat-trick then the car is yours’ [a bet Vieri won].”