Paolo Di Canio has revealed that he rejected the opportunity to sign for Manchester United during the latter stages of his career.
While Di Canio represented nine different clubs during his playing days, the Italian made the biggest impact at West Ham United, contributing 52 goals from 141 appearances between 1999 and 2003.
However, the controversial forward has acknowledged that he was provided with the chance to sign for United at the end of 2001, only to turn down Sir Alex Ferguson out of loyalty for the Hammers.
Speaking to Sky Sports' Transfer Talk Podcast, Di Canio said: "I thought it was a joke, I thought it was my friend from Italy.
"My stomach went a bit because it makes you think you have underestimated yourself, that you are bigger than what you thought. Man United call you, try to persuade you to move because they want you. For a couple of minutes you feel big and strong.
"It was strange for me to say no to Sir Alex. I said "thanks, 1000 times thanks, but I can't. West Ham are the family that warmed to me in the worst moment in my life, I'm the skipper, I can't."
Di Canio spent a total of eight years in British football, also playing for Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.