Celtic cult hero Dedryck Boyata has admitted that he rejected the opportunity to seal a lucrative move to China while on the Parkhead club’s books, in conversation with the Daily Record.
The Belgium international defender joined Celtic from English side Manchester City in 2015, enjoying a trophy-laden four-year spell with the Bhoys.
During his time at Parkhead, Boyata won four Scottish Premiership titles, three Scottish Cups, and three League Cups (Transfermarkt).
He was a vital part of the treble-treble team, making over 130 appearances for the club (Transfermarkt).
Boyata’s contract was coming to an end in the summer of 2019 and the 6ft 2in ace appeared set for a fresh challenge elsewhere.
In the end, the 29-year-old linked up with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, but there was also interest from outside of Europe – namely from a league with a reputation for paying big.
“When I was leaving Celtic and the offers came in, I spoke to (Belgium manager) Roberto Martinez,” Boyata is quoted by the Daily Record as saying.
“I had a lot of offers from clubs in China, but that was never in my thoughts. His advice was priceless and he was very happy to see me sign for Hertha.”
While nobody should begrudge a professional footballer for seeking to maximise their income during a short career, as those who have played in China have done, for some players – such as Boyata – it simply doesn’t cross their mind.
The Bundesliga is a highly competitive, prestigious and high-calibre league, and playing in the German capital for a traditional, historic sleeping giant of a club boasting a marvellous stadium with close to 75,000 seats and a fiercely passionate fanbase – there are some things money can’t buy.