The Belgium international midfielder was keen to point out that quality is not forgotten, regardless of where you ply your trade
Axel Witsel has claimed his Tianjin Quanjian coach Fabio Cannavaro turned down Carlo Ancelotti’s request to discuss a potential move for the Belgium international to Bayern Munich.
Witsel incurred a storm of criticism in January when he opted against a transfer from Zenit to Juventus in favour of the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League.
But Witsel has insisted that playing in one of football’s relative backwaters, albeit one which handsomely remunerates its imported stars, does not mean he has escaped the attention of Europe’s top clubs.
“Everyone thinks that coming here, I [would] get forgotten,” he told Le Vif.
“I’ll give you an example, it’s exclusive… Two weeks ago, Carlo Ancelotti called Fabio Cannavaro and asked him if he could contact me.
“He wanted me at Bayern. This is proof that you are not forgotten in high-level European football on the pretext that you are playing in China.
“But Cannavaro replied to Ancelotti that he needed me. I have to take this into account, it is also he who brought me here.”
Witsel’s ambition was questioned when he decided not to move to Serie A heavyweights Juve, and it remains to be seen if the 28-year-old would have considered trying to prove himself at the Bundesliga title-holders.
“If he [Cannavaro] had given me the green light to negotiate? Bayern is Bayern … I could go to Juventus, but Bayern is still a notch above,” Witsel added.
“In short, it’s just to say that they do not forget me.”