Wayne Rooney Says He Turned Down 'A Lot of Money' in China for Everton Return

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2018

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Wayne Rooney of Everton during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney has said he spurned the opportunity to earn "a lot of money" in China so that he could maintain his "desire to play" by returning to Everton from Manchester United.

England's all-time top goalscorer ended a 13-year stay at Old Trafford to complete a move back to his roots at Goodison Park and told BBC's Football Focus he didn't want to end his playing days "earning a lot of money" abroad (h/t Press Association's Carl Markham, via MailOnline):

"That's not me, I need those goals, I need that pressure. That desire to play would have been lost if I'd chosen that other option.

"I knew that coming back to Everton was more pressure—that's what I wanted.

"I wanted to prove myself again to the Everton fans and to try to help this club move forward and win silverware."

Rooney went on to say he thought a reunion with the Toffees was the "perfect fit" for him, alluding to staying "two or three years" at Goodison, despite the fact his contract is set to expire at the end of next season.

The 32-year-old has scored 10 times in 22 Premier League appearances for the Toffees this term, and BT Sport Score recently touched upon the boosting effect he has seemed to have on his team:

Rooney added: "The one thing which stays is my attitude to playing, my attitude to win, but of course you change and adapt your game and that's what I feel I've done over the last few years. Two years ago, I thought my best position to play was midfield, and that's starting to happen now."

As one of the most marketable names in world football at the height of his powers, Rooney could have commanded eye-watering wages if he made the move to China's Super League last year.

Matt Lawton and Sami Mokbel reported for the Daily Mail in May of last year that at least two clubs had made offers, and he stood to earn £50 million over the course of a two-year stay in the Far East.

Instead, he opted for a move back to Merseyside and took a 50 percent cut on his £300,000-per-week Manchester United salary, per the Daily Mail's Jack Gaughan, which equates to just short of £8 million per year.

Rooney appears to be fulfilling that desire to compete with Everton, too, and Bleacher Report's Matt Jones hailed his influence on a convincing 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at the beginning of February:

Sam Allardyce's side may not be competing for the Premier League crown or the UEFA Champions League trophy as Rooney frequently did during his days at United, but there's more value to be had than money alone.

His transition to midfield helped extend his career as a Red Devil, and Rooney is now enjoying a renaissance at his boyhood club, which is worth more to the former striker than any retirement plan in a foreign setting.

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