The France midfielder was expected to move to Camp Nou after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, but instead chose to join Juventus
Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal admits he does not know why midfielder Adrien Rabiot chose to join Juventus over the Spanish champions.
Rabiot, 24, left Paris Saint-Germain after his contract in the French capital expired and it had been widely reported that he had agreed to move to Barcelona.
But instead of the Catalan giants, the France international chose to join Italian champions Juve, where he may line up in midfield alongside fellow free transfer signing Aaron Ramsey.
“He was on our list [of targets] and it was his choice to join Juventus,” Abidal told Le Parisien.
“I do not know the reasons. It may have been a sporting choice or a financial decision, I don’t know.”
Tall at 6’2” but graceful and measured in his play, Rabiot was a wanted man among Europe’s top clubs after falling out of favour at PSG.
He joined the club as a youngster in 2010, having previously also spent time at Manchester City, and went on to make 150 league appearances in France.
During his time in Paris, Rabiot won five Ligue 1 titles, four Coupes de France, and five Coupes de la Ligue.
However, his last season at the club brought just 20 appearances, including just 14 in the league.
He attracted controversy in March after going to a nightclub after PSG’s Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United, as well as liking an Instagram post by former United man Patrice Evra celebrating the win. He was promptly suspended by the club.
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Now with Juventus, he is bedding in at his new side and will be hoping to play some part as they gear up for the new season with the International Champions Cup, and fixtures with Tottenham, Inter and Atletico Madrid.
New manager Maurizio Sarri will be implementing his patented take on the 4-3-3 which served him at Napoli and Chelsea, and Rabiot’s ability on the ball makes him an option for the ‘Sarriball’ system.
The pressure to succeed will be immediate for both player and manager as Juve target a ninth consecutive Serie A title and tangible progress in the Champions League.