Axel Witsel: I did not move to Tianjin Quanjian just for the money

Tianjin Quanjian midfielder Axel Witsel insists he did not go to China "just to pocket the money," telling RTBF that he still hopes to continue playing for Belgium.

Witsel, 28, joined Tianjin Quanjian in a €20 million move from Zenit St Petersburg earlier this month, and will earn a reported €18 million annually over the three years of his contract.

The midfielder acknowledged the massive salary had played a part in him moving to the club -- and reportedly rejecting Juventus in the process -- but he denied it was his sole motivation.

"I'm not going to say the money didn't play a role in the transfer, but I didn't come here just to pocket the money and have a rest," Witsel, who played for Belgium at both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 said. "I still want to play in the national team, so I'll have to work hard. I want to show my qualities and help the club grow.

"For me or someone else, this offer could come along just once in a lifetime. Look, now there are restrictions [on foreign players in China] with the new law. You never know what's going to happen."

Witsel's move was one of the huge January deals done by Chinese clubs that prompted the Chinese Football Association to change its rules, imposing a salary cap and limiting the number of foreign players a team can field.

"For me, it's a bit of a shame," Witsel said. "If other foreigners come, the league will be better. On the other hand, I understand they want more Chinese players to come through, to improve their standard. I hope they'll perhaps change their minds, but we can still have another foreigner, so I hope the club will do everything it can to bring one in."