East Asia China

Dries Mertens: China move would have disappointed my parents

Belgian international Dries Mertens has explained his decision to turn down a big-money offer from China in the winter transfer window.

Despite previously insisted that money is important to him, the Napoli star does not want to move to the Chinese Super League at this stage of his career.

Numerous stars have gone to the East Asia lately due to the riches on offer, however the 29-year-old forward claims it is his respect for his parents and the game that kept him in Italian Serie A.

“My father was driving the bus from Anderlecht and he took me from the age of 11 to 18 years old every day to training in Brussels,” Mertens told La Libre.

“I have so much respect for what my parents did for me. They did not raise me talking about money – I would have disappointed them if I went to China.

“We have weighed the pros and cons, my wife has read testimonials from people who live there, and then you hear about the smog and you say it’s not a healthy atmosphere,” he added.

“And I decided to say no, I can tell you that it is difficult to refuse such an amount. My children and even my grandchildren would no longer have had to worry about their future.”