Belgium international Axel Witsel has explained the reasons behind his decision to snub Juventus in favour of a move to China’s Tianjin Quanjian – and unsurprisingly money was at the heart of it.
Witsel had reportedly agreed to join Juve when his contract at Zenit St. Petersburg runs out in the summer despite a host of interest from the Premier League, saying back in November, “I’ll join Juventus. That will be the case. Right now I don’t know when.”
But that deal was hijacked by the Chinese club in the latest example of the ‘mega-million Dollar’ Chinese Super League tempting top players away from Europe.
It is reported Witsel will pick up a staggering 18 million Euros a year during his three-year stint in China.
He turned down Real Madrid to play in Russia. He turns down Juventus to play in China. What a true football lover that Witsel lad is!
— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) January 2, 2017
Explaining his decision to Tuttosport, Witsel said: “It was a very difficult decision because on one hand there was a great team and a top club like Juventus.
“But on the other, there was a crucial offer for my family that I couldn’t turn down.
“The leadership at Juventus have always behaved like gentlemen with me and I can only be grateful to them.
“I will cheer for Juventus and I hope they can win the Champions League. Then who knows, maybe one day in the future our paths will finally meet.”