Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel on why he rejected the biggest moves

Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel on why he rejected the biggest moves

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has reportedly revealed in an interview on why he rejected Jose Mourinho when he was at the helm of Real Madrid and Manchester United. 

Witsel joined Dortmund from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian in the summer of 2018 and he has gone on to be a topic of interest for European clubs that have been in hot pursuit of his services. 

The Belgium international kickstarted his career at Standard Liege then went on to ply his trade at Benfica and Zenit before moving to China - respectively.

In an interview with Goal,  Witsel revealed: 'I could have joined Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was there, but then Real signed Luka Modric, so a transfer to Madrid made no sense to me.

'Shortly before the end of the transfer period, Zenit called. I had good discussions with the people responsible and finally agreed. I am an open person and was not afraid of Russia.'

'My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus,' Witsel continues. 'I had already passed the medical check and actually only had to sign the contract.

'I waited all day in the office and Zenit told me to come back. In retrospect, that was perhaps a twist of fate. Maybe it was just not the right time.'

'First (Dortmund sporting director) Michael Zorc approached me, then (manager) Lucien Favre called me,' Witsel explained.

'I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait. And I had the feeling that I was the first choice for Dortmund. It is important to feel good when you go to a new club.

'So after the talks with Zorc, Favre and (CEO) Hans-Joachim Watzke, I decided to join BVB. Dortmund is a top club - and I really wanted to join a top European club.

'Maybe it was my last chance at 29 years old. It was the right decision.'

Read more: Roma in hot pursuit of Juventus' Daniele Rugani before close of window