Napoli forward Dries Mertens has revealed he turned down a big-money offer from China, saying it would have disappointed his parents had he made the move.
The Belgian has been in sensational form this season, scoring 20 goals across all competitions as Napoli try to close the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus and overcome Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Teams in the Chinese Super League have gained a reputation for prying big-name stars away from their clubs with the lure of huge salaries.
Carlos Tevez, Oscar and Hulk have all moved to China in the last year, but Mertens claims it is his respect for his parents and the game that kept him in Italy.
“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 said in quotes reported by 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.”
Without disclosing the exact amount on offer, Mertens admitted it was tough to turn down such a huge sum.
He said: “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.
“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.”