Date: 19 January 2017 12:38
The former England international says the pride of playing in the Premier League for Liverpool or the Red Devils should be worth more than money
Former Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince has questioned the motives of those quitting European football for China at the peak of their careers.
The ex-England international spent the best years of his career at some of Europe’s top clubs, with a stint at Serie A giants Inter sandwiched between spells at Old Trafford and Anfield.
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He was a high-profile figure in his day and can be expected to have had the pick of the world’s leading clubs had he still been playing today.
Ince, though, is adamant that he would have shunned interest from China if given the opportunity to line his pockets in Asia.
He appreciates that those approaching the end of their careers will be chasing one last pay day, but believes the pride to be taken from competing in a division such as the Premier League should outweigh financial gain for those on the books of a leading side.
"I was brought up with the belief that I wanted to play for the biggest clubs in the world and playing in the most competitive competitions," Ince told Paddy Power.
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“That’s the Premier League and the Champions League. China doesn’t even compare.
"If you’re a top player why would you go when you can still have a successful career in the Premier League?
“There’s no chance I would have left Liverpool or Manchester United to go and play in China. Not even for £500k a week.
"If they had come calling when I was 31 and or 32 and my career was winding down, then absolutely I would have taken it. But as a footballer at your peak you should want to play with the best players and win trophies."
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Brazil international Oscar recently left Chelsea for China at the age of 25, while 28-year-old striker Diego Costa is reported to have been the subject of big-money offers from the CSL.
Regulations have, however, been put in place to stop foreign players from flocking to Asia, which should help to stem the flow of talent leaving South America and Europe.