In an interview with French newspaper L'Équipe, the 33-year-old said he first came into contact with the first-year MLS club back in December. But with the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament originally slated for this past June and July, he wanted to remain at the Serie A club.
That was before the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, of course, and the Euros were moved to 2021. Situations shift, as Matuidi explained, leading to his next challenge.
“When they called me again in June, the context had changed,” Matuidi said. “Staying in quarantine made me realize I had to think about my family and spend more time with them. I looked back over my career and thought, what else are you looking for?”
As Matuidi’s final Juventus season unravelled, they won the club’s ninth straight Serie A title and lost on penalty kicks in the Coppa Italia final to Napoli. They also crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 against now-semifinalist Lyon, a club Matuidi knew well from his Ligue 1 days, namely at Paris Saint-Germain.
That resulted in Juventus sacking Maurizio Sarri and appointing former NYCFC midfielder Andrea Pirlo as their next manager. Matuidi said the behind-the-scenes moves didn’t impact his final decision.
“I made the decision at the start of July and asked the Juventus directors to terminate the contract a year early,” Matuidi. “At the time, I didn’t know we were getting a new coach.”
The end product was Matuidi departing Juventus via mutual consent, allowing Miami to land the World Cup-winning midfielder via Targeted Allocation Money. That leaves open the club’s precious third Designated Player slot, all while injecting veteran wherewithal and success into the squad.
For more from Matuidi, check out additional insights here.