Jose Mourinho turned down a “big offer” to go to China, the Manchester United manager disclosed in an interview published Monday.
The 54-year-old Portuguese boss did not disclose which club made the proposal but said he would not criticise anyone who made a highly lucrative move to the developing Chinese Super League.
Last week saw Mourinho cast doubt over the Old Trafford future of England captain Wayne Rooney, who recently became United’s all-time leading goalscorer, by saying “the money is huge” in China, amid reports of Asian interest in the striker.
“I have already refused a big offer to go to China, but I don’t criticise anyone who decides to do it,” Mourinho told the monthly GQ men’s magazine.
“It’s their choice, their life. Only they can decide what they need for their future. Other managers in the Premier League have been critical, but I am no critic.”
Fellow high-profile managers Luiz Felipe Scolari and Sven-Goran Eriksson are already in the Chinese Super League, while this month saw Argentina striker Carlos Tevez join Shanghai Shenhua from Boca Juniors.
His arrival came a fortnight after that of Brazilian star Oscar, who joined cross-town Shanghai rivals SIPG for £50 million ($63 million, 60 million euros) from Chelsea that smashed the Asian transfer-fee record.
Former Chelsea manager Mourinho said he was “worried” about the prospect of losing players to China and urged them to think about more than money.
“If you are negotiating a new contract with one of your players, and you offer him £5 million per year and they offer £25 million, then you have a big problem,” Mourinho admitted.
“Maybe the player takes £5 million because he prefers football. Or £25 million because he prefers money.
“I am worried, because they can offer contracts that are impossible to offer in Europe. But in the end the player who wants to go is a player that maybe you don’t want to keep,” he added.