18 Sept 2013

'I could've joined Man Utd' - LFC hero admits he rejected Fergie. What a relief....

I vividly remember being devastated when Ian Rush left Liverpool for Juventus in 1987. I was only ten years old, but Rushie was one of my favourite LFC players at time, and it came as a shock to see him leave the club. Of course, sadness turned to elation a year later when Rushie returned to Anfield, but if things had gone differently, he could've ended up elsewhere.

In an interview today, Rush - who scored an amazing 346 goals for Liverpool during his fantastic career - admitted that a whole host of clubs tried to sign him when he decided to leave Juve. He told the Daily Mail:

"There was only one reason that I came back to England: Kenny Dalglish. He wanted me back. I could have gone to Man Utd, Rangers, Bayern Munich, even Inter Milan. If I hadn’t returned to Liverpool, I’d have stayed at Juventus and I’m sure I would have become a bigger success."

Rush at Man United? Urgh. The very idea of it is nauseating. You can't blame Alex Ferguson for trying to sign him though. As much as I'm loathe to admit it, Fergie always had an eye for a player, and Rush would've been a superb signing for United. Thankfully, Rush returned to Liverpool, and went on to help Kenny Dalglish's team win another league title, plus the FA Cup in 1989.

For some reason, the prevailing view seems to be that Rush failed in Italy, but just don't believe that's true. Unfortunately for Rush, he arrived as Juventus were in decline. The team that won serie A four times from 1980-1986 was ageing, and star players like Zbigniew Boniek and Michel Platini had recently quit. As Rush recalls:

"If he [Platini] had stayed it would have been easier for me. When I met him, he said to me, 'You've come at the wrong time to Juventus. You should have been here 2-3 years ago when we had a better team’

Rush's Italian adventure began in the worst way possible with an injury on his debut in August 1987, which kept him out of the team for 5 weeks. On his return, Rush managed only 13 touches of the ball in the 1-0 defeat to Empoli, a game played in 30 degree heat. After the match, Rush provided an insight into a few of the problems he faced in Italy:

“To really get on form I’ve got to sort out a few problems: the language, the heat and my understanding with the rest of the team”

Rush also experienced homesickness, as he explained to Journalists at the time:

“I must admit I feel a bit lonely. I miss all the things I was used to in Britain - my friends, my family, especially my brothers. I’m trying hard to learn Italian but unfortunately I can’t yet speak properly with my teammates”.

Rush’s chances of success were not helped by the lack of cohesiveness in the Juve team, something Rush touched upon at the time:

“There are six new players at Juventus and therefore we’re not really a team yet, but all we have to do is keep playing, kep calm and it will come right”.

Rush was also forced to play a more defensive role, which inhibited his natural game, as he noted in a recent interview:

“When I was playing at Juventus I was playing defensive forward...the football didn’t suit me”.

On top of everything else, Juventus’ training regime was a shock to the system, as Rush described at the time:

“It was quite relaxed at the start but now it’s much harder than in England and there’s much more gymnastics here”.

Gymnastics?! Despite these barriers, I submit that Rush did comparatively well, scoring:

* 10 goals in 6 pre-season games.
* 14 goals during the season, 8 of which were in the league.
* 4 goals In Juventus’ 6-2 hamering of Pescara in the Italian Cup (Jan '88)

As a comparison, consider the following:

* Diego Maradona topped the scoring charts that season with only 14 league goals.
* Rush scored as many goals as Marco Van Basten at AC Milan.
* He also scored more than Rudi Voeller at AS Roma.

Rush managed to score 14 goals (24 if you include pre-season) despite all of the following:

* A significant language barrier.
* Intense homesickness.
* Injuries.
* A difficult climate.
* 6 new players bedding into the team at the same time.
* Being forced to play a more defensive-minded role.

Given all of the above, I do not see how Rush can be considered a failure during his time at Juve. Rush himself certainly doesn’t see it that way:

“It’s [joining Juve] is one of the best things I ever did. Some people say that I was a failure but I scored 14 goals. I became a better all round player because of the defending I did off the ball. I also became a better person off the pitch.”

After that ordeal, it made perfect sense for Rush to return to the club he knows best, and I'm sure all LFC fans are forever grateful that he rejected Man United and came home.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. Laudrup was at Juve then. That alone is worth moving there. The Dane was class! Yep, there is that story we were ever so close to signing Laudrup.

  2. Did Spurs try to sign him?

  3. Ian Rush returning to Liverpool was simply a jigsaw piece being layed as it should. Nothing to do with Fergie, Juve or Dalglish. It was just a natural progression of fate. Ian Rush belonged at Anfield. It was where he was meant to be. It is where he'll always be. "Gets the ball, scores the goal, Ian Ian Rush"

  4. IAN RUSH is our leading all time goalscorer netting 346 times as JK stated.The way players move clubs in the modern game, I see that record standing for many years and I doubt it will be broken in my lifetime.
    I'm not going to make excuses for RUSH just because he's a club legend.His brief spell at JUVENTUS was unsuccessful.
    Even if you go to a new club that are fitting new parts into the team and they ultimately finish 6th you can still look like a top player.
    There's been many examples of players who have come into a new league and hit the ground running.You don't have to be challenging for the league to perform well.Some players need time to settle but if you leave for another club before you've had time to fully integrate and perform to a high standard that's failure in my book.
    I don't think he embraced the culture of the country he moved to and that made it more difficult for him to adapt.He highlighted communication problems as a major stumbling block.
    RUSH is responsible for one of the dumbest comments ever "living in Italy was like being in a foreign country" with a sentence like that I don't think it takes much for him to get homesick.IAN RUSH was great for us and shouldn't have left.When he returned he picked up where he left off.

  5. Weren't we close when he was a youngster, like 18? If he joined, I wonder if the major LFC successes would have continued because a few years after that things went a little downhill.

    Anyways, what I find interesting is some of the fantastic goal scorers that have left our club for whatever reason over the years. Granted, Rush came back, and so did Fowler, but Rush, Owen and Fowler amongst others left when they had so much more to give. Particularly Owen who I feel could of scored 300+ for us.

  6. No they had their own scouting department back then. Actually, after we re-signed Rush they drew up a first draft of their ingenius, let's let Liverpool do our scouting for us strategy. It took a while before it was fully developed but they are a bit slow around those parts...

  7. Skrtel was our best defender in our last 2 games, and Toure was our best defender in every game he played in previously likewise...

  8. Nobody is able to conclusively explain what a marquee signing is still!

  9. Spot on - the only difference is that Sturridge is far more effective at getting into dangerous areas with and without the ball, even while clearly not being 100%

  10. Sterling needs to do a lot more to get a starting spot imo.

    Alberto also remains a sub for me - Gerrard and Allen should still be ahead of him in the pecking order for a central attacking berth in the absence of Coutinho

  11. Once Suarez returns, that gives us a front 3 of Coutinho/Sturridge/Suarez with Moses, Aspas, Sterling, Alberto etc as additional squad options. Doesn't look too dire to me.

  12. I wasn't particularly excited by the signings of Aspas or Alberto, but remain convinced that Sakho will prove himself a top notch signing for LFC.

    Only time will tell eh...

  13. Ozil, Bale, lamela, Soldado, Willian.
    It basically means an already established player who is already a star.

  14. Has Moses won you round already, Jamie? :D

  15. Take it easy, he's having a hard time settling in, that's obvious. Give the fella some support. That's when being a supporter actually matters. Not cheering a goal, but cheering on a player who is struggling. Don't see how calling our lads useless, when they are obviously talented, is supportive, at all.

  16. It was an honour to sit with this guy on a sofa at the hotel in Melbourne.

  17. People used to say that about Ashley Cole early on, too -- he was also a forward, or so people say, in his early days. I've a feeling about Sterling at RB, down the road. We'll see. His current form isn't great -- he's having an up and down time, he's young, let's support him and hope he can settle down in due course.

  18. At what level do you have to be established and how long does it take to become a 'star'?

    Sakho (and Erikksen even) was not deemed a marquee signing, but has done more to build a top resume than players like Costa and Lamela. How does that work??

  19. Milan are a proper tight-ar*e club now. They annoyed both CSKA and Fiorentina when going for Honda and Ljacic. They want to do things on the cheap now. One wouldn't have thought it would have happened years ago but I think Spurs have a considerably better financial power than Milan do. We probably do as well.

    But yes, it is interesting that for such a high profile prospect that teams haven't gambled for him, especially when he has just a year left on his contract. Maybe his financial demands have been obstacle but of course, I'm just speculating.

    I do think, financially, we weren't/aren't in a position to afford (or willing to risk financially at the moment) Eriksen + Henrikh or Willian but Alberto + Henrikh or Willian is definitely a cheaper alternative.

    I think with the way Rodgers has pinned hopes on Coutinho being the main candidate for the position behind the front man, I don't think there was room for Eriksen. Whereas with Alberto is a lower risk as he is cheaper and will have less expectations of game starts, so be more willing to sit and wite.

    Eriksen has played wide but not often and doesn't do well there. Coutinho can play wide but it seems he is going to be the main choice behind the front man.

  20. Unlucky I guess, with both Laudrup and Owen :P

  21. Berkurangnya rasa MALU atau KESOPANAN sebagai tanda lunturnya iman lalu disusul dengan kemunduran akhlak

  22. Molberto Stuarezdson Ibling6:31 pm, September 19, 2013

    Today they can just open their iphone, and there you go.

  23. the sad aspect of rushie coming back was that aldridge had to leave to accomodate him. this unsettled a perfect barnes beardsley and aldridge formation - which had torn teams apart in rushies absence.