Saturday October 21 2017
Verratti: 'I'd earn more away from PSG'

Marco Verratti insists he never asked Paris Saint-Germain to leave for Barcelona and didn’t stay for the money, but took Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s advice.

The Italy international was at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war with Barcelona over the summer, but the Ligue 1 side refused to sell.

“To be honest, I am ambitions and for the first time since I got here, I asked myself whether I should remain,” Verratti told L’Equipe newspaper.

“Then they reassured me on the project and their ambitions. Winning something with PSG will always be different to elsewhere and I am very happy here.

“It’s true, we had complicated moments last season, as we were expected to win every tournament, but had to deal with opponents that were more of a ‘team’ than we were.”

Verratti parted company with agent Donato Di Campli, who had many public rows with Paris Saint-Germain hierarchy, and hired Mino Raiola instead.

“I didn’t expect the summer to be like that, as many things happened that I did not like, above all the behaviour of people close to me who thought only of themselves and not of what was best for me,” continued the 25-year-old.

“I already knew Raiola, as he was (former PSG teammate) Ibrahimovic’s agent. The only thing I asked of him was to no longer end up in the papers. He has experience and a good rapport with clubs. Zlatan recommended him to me. In football and in life, every time I have listened to Zlatan, I’ve made the right choice.

“The situation had become really difficult, as every morning I’d open up the paper to read statements I had not made and see my agent saying things I did not agree with. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

“It was tough, because Di Campli was like a father for me. I hope, over time, we can rebuild a normal rapport.

“It’s not true that I asked the club to leave. When the new director of sport Henrique arrived, I came back from vacation to understand how things were really going.

“Even after the first meeting, I said that I would stay, so that was before the signing of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. People think I only stay at PSG for money, but they are wrong. There are clubs who would’ve paid €100m to get me and guaranteed higher wages.

“The truth is, Neymar would’ve earned a higher salary at Manchester City or Chelsea, but he signed for PSG. Evidently the project convinced him, just as it convinced me.

“I might even sign a new contract, as the future is here with champions in the making like Marquinhos, Mbappé, Neymar and Adrien Rabiot.”