"Milan made the difficult decision to make Alberto Gilardino available," said Damiani. "They wanted to replace him with a striker of top class quality. This came before deciding to stick with the former Parma forward.

"But there was contact with Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), David Trezeguet (Juventus) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid). And this contact was more than just an initial enquiry."