MILAN'S star striker Andriy Shevchenko has launched a bizarre attack on Tottenham, claiming he once turned down a move to White Hart Lane because the club were not good enough.
In an amazing interview, the newly-crowned European Footballer of the Year has revealed he harbours a grudge against Spurs because of their treatment of his Ukrainian international strike partner Sergei Rebrov.
Shevchenko said: 'I still say he's one of the best strikers in Europe, and I know that for a fact.
'I think he made a mistake joining Tottenham - they weren't a big enough club for him.'
Shevchenko and Rebrov formed a devastating strike partnership for Dinamo Kiev before ex-Spurs boss George Graham broke it up and took Rebrov to White Hart Lane five years ago.
The £11million move soon turned sour, however, with Graham refusing to play Rebrov and leaving the striker on the sidelines.
Things got worse for Rebrov following Graham's sacking, with subsequent bosses Glenn Hoddle and David Pleat also leaving the frustrated frontman out of the first-team picture.
Two loan moves to Turkish club Fenerbahce followed as Rebrov launched a desperate bid to prove to Spurs that he was worth persevering with. But the north London club refused to budge and Rebrov eventually left - before being snapped up on a free transfer by West Ham boss Alan Pardew.
Even there he has struggled to gain the regular first-team football he is convinced will enable him to regain his best form.
But Shevchenko has reserved his anger for Tottenham and insists Rebrov's nightmare at White Hart Lane proves he was right to snub them five years ago in favour of a move to Milan.
Speaking in today's edition of Nuts magazine, Shevchenko launched a thinly- veiled attack on Graham in particular.
He said: 'I know that under one Spurs manager Sergei was especially unhappy, and an unhappy footballer will never play well. It makes me sad, as I know how good he could have been. When I made the decision to leave Kiev, I knew there were many clubs in Europe that were interested in me.
'Tottenham were one, but not one that I ever gave any great consideration to.
'I would have liked it if Sergei had joined Milan, because I feel we'd now be talking about him in a different light.'
While Rebrov is struggling to gain promotion to the Premiership with West Ham, Shevchenko admits he is targeting another Champions League title with AC Milan.
The Italian giants have turned down a string of enquiries from Chelsea - against whom he scored in a pre-season friendly outing last summer.
Back then, he admitted he was aware of the Blues' interest, but insisted that he was keen to continue his long-standing love affair with Italian football.
AC Milan officials also laughed off Chelsea's interest, with vice-president Adriano Galliano maintaining: 'Roman Abramovich does not have enough money to buy Shevchenko. He is happy with us.'
For his part, the striker aims to show Tottenham exactly what they missed out on by targeting another Champions League trophy.
He continued: 'I'd love to win the Champions League again, and I want to get lots more titles for AC Milan too.
'But I always think it would be very cool if my son said in 10 years' time, 'My dad, Andriy Shevchenko, was one of the greatest footballers ever.' That would be very cool.'
YOU can read the full interview with Andriy Shevchenko in the latest edition of Nuts magazine, which is out today and every Thursday.
THOUGHTS OF THE WORLD'S TOP STRIKER..
..ON CHELSEA IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
'Barcelona look to be a world-class side, but we've also been talking about Chelsea at Milan.
'I think they've made the big European teams pay attention to them this year and, in Jose Mourinho, they've got a manager capable of winning big things.'
..ON ARSENAL IN THE CHAMPS LEAGUE
'Arsenal don't have much experience in the Champions League, but when they play, they really play. When they are on top of their game, they're the best English club.'
..ON MAN UTD, MILAN'S NEXT CHAMPS LEAGUE OPPONENTS
'Man Utd have a lot of experience in the competition, but a lot has changed since they won it - I think the players that made them great are past their best.'
..ON LIVERPOOL IN THE CHAMPS LEAGUE
'Liverpool simply won't win it. They have sold their best player to Real Madrid.'
..ON WAYNE ROONEY
'There are many other greater young players in Europe than Wayne Rooney. It's just that they don't get the same sort of exposure as he does.
'What about Fernando Torres of Atletico Madrid and my own AC Milan team- mate, the Brazilian Kaka? They are just two who are better than Wayne. The British like to make superheroes out of players.'
..ON THE BEST BRITISH PLAYERS
'People talk a lot about Michael Owen and David Beckham, but they're not always consistent. England have two of the best defenders in the world in Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, and I'm not sure that they get the credit they deserve. Defenders can win matches too.'
Not only does he rubbish Spurs, he thinks we're the best English club and that Sulzeer's the best defender (certainly better than Dopey Dope Ferdinand ). What a top chap.