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Exclusive: Matteo Contini confirms rejecting West Ham for Real Zaragoza

Matteo Contini has confirmed he turned down the chance to join West Ham United.

The former centre-back enjoyed an impressive career with the likes of Napoli, Parma and Siena.

He also spent 18 months in Spain with Real Zaragoza after joining initially on loan in January 2010.

With his loan set to expire in June 2010, Zaragoza had the chance to activate a £2m clause which would make the move permanent.

It was at this time with Los Mañoswhere Contini was reportedly scouted by Gianfranco Zola, who was then in charge of the Hammers.

However, Contini decided to accept the offer to stay in Spain instead of crossing over to the Premier League.

"I arrived in Spain by chance, in a team in great difficulty: I was a bit hesitant," the Italian told

"Fusco and my agent carried out this negotiation. Then they were 5 fantastic months: we saved ourselves, I discovered another world and I was able to immediately enter the hearts of the Zaragoza fans. I couldn't ask for more.

"On the English question, I only know that they looked for me strongly but then I made the decision to continue with Real Zaragoza, also because I had already settled in."

Despite signing a three-year deal with Zaragoza, Contini returned to Italy with Siena in 2011.

He would go to play for Atalanta, Juve Stabia, Bari, Ternana and Pergolettese, a club in Serie A whom he now manages.

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