After the 2002 World Cup, Inter Milan, like the rest of us, were dreaming of a team of Gary Breens.
It was well publicised that Gary Breen was one of the only players at the 2002 World Cup that was technically unemployed as his contract at Coventry had expired, but as a number of clubs were looking at him, it became clear that Inter Milan were one of them.
Unfortunately, things didn't quite work for him and the Italian team, and according to Breen, an 'idiot doctor' was the reason behind it.
Breen scored Ireland's second goal, in a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the 2002 World Cup, and Inter Milan came calling soon after, and allegedly Barcelona too..
However, speaking on Wednesday to Off The Ball in Vicar Street, he denied that Barcelona had shown interest. Inter Milan though had a genuine line of enquiry, but Breen failed his medical test resulting in the contract to fall through.
Prior to the Spain Game, I had a agreed a deal with Inter. When we got back to Dublin, I flew out to Milan, I had the medical (test), failed the medical, and I still haven’t gotten over it.
Breen failed his medical due to a problem with his knee, but seemingly he doesn't think there was much of an issue.
Joe Molloy: What was the problem?
Gary Breen: My knee apparently. But essentially, the doctor was an idiot.
Molloy: So there was nothing wrong with your knee?
Breen: Well listen, you can check any footballer's knee and I’m sure you will find something. But listen, it was one of those things, you know that I’m bashful enough to know that it was a once in a lifetime thing. You were on a free-transfer, you just had a reasonably good World Cup, Inter Milan were getting loads of players in at the time.
So in terms of having the opportunity to go and play, it would have been great. I was 28 years of age, it was the right time, it would have brilliant and I was so looking forward to it. And when it didn’t materialise, I struggled actually for a little bit after that. I just couldn’t get it out of my head but you know that’s life.
Instead, Breen signed for West Ham where he struggled for playing time before moving to Sunderland and becoming a regular, his dreams of becoming a hero in Milan dashed.
Ah well, we can all dream...