Barcelona forward Ivan Rakitic has revealed that he turned down a lucrative offer to join Premier League champions Chelsea in order to stay closer to his family, according to the Daily Express.
The Croatian international was on the radar of both Chelsea and Juventus when he was only 16-years-old.
Now 27, he linked up with the Catalan giants in the summer of 2014, and went on to win the treble in his first season with the club.
And he has revealed that he spurned the chance to head to London as a teenager as he wanted to stay closer to his family.
“It was important for me to do it step by step,” he said.
“First of all to arrive in the first team in Switzerland because I had, at 16 years of age, a big offer to go to Chelsea. And another offer from Juventus and I decided to stay at home with my family.
“Then I first had to get into the Super League in Switzerland and after that the next step.
“At that time, when I was 15, 16, I decided it was important to have my family. It might not have been the best decision for everyone but it was the right one for me.
“Maybe when I decided to stay in Basel it might have been a bad decision but it was my decision. Or maybe I will go to Chelsea and my father would have said ‘no, stay at home’.
“It was important for me to say ‘the money is there but the money will come with time, also’. There was another player like me and he went and today he is playing in the fourth division in Switzerland.”
Alexandre Pato Liverpool: Arsenal & Tottenham join transfer war over former Golden Boy
Ranking Europe’s 12 richest clubs: Arsenal join Man United in list of biggest earners
Armando Izzo Arsenal: Transfer battle with Benfica expected for star Genoa defender