Manchester City defender Micah Richards has revealed that he took a massive pay-cut in order to leave the club and join Italian side Fiorentina on a season-long loan, reports talkSPORT.
The English defender was falling down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium, and due to numerous injuries sustained by the 26-year-old, his career in Manchester was stalling the right-back finally left the club this Summer in order to re-start his career.
Pablo Zabaleta and the newly-signed, Bacary Sagna, were both ahead of Richards under Manuel Pellegrini, and despite several Premier League clubs interested in the right-back, it was Fiorentina that won the race to sign the 26-year-old, on a season-long loan.
The initial loan deal could be made permanent next Summer, if the three parties involved can agree a deal, but Richards has already revealed that he has took a massive pay-cut in order to join the Serie A side.
City are reportedly fine with making the loan deal a permanent one next Summer, as are Fiorentina, but it's whether Richards will continue to agree to a contract which is worth considerably less than what he is currently earning.
Richards revealed that it was a hard decision to leave the Etihad, but he had to move to save his career, and that's why it wasn't an issue for him to take the pay-cut.
Richards is City's longest-serving player, after spending 12-years at the club, coming up through their youth academy, and he admitted that it was tough to leave, even on loan.
“I’m desperate to play football,” he told Drivetime. “It’s been a frustrating 18 months, two years at Manchester City. It’s my club and I’ve given blood, sweat and tears for them and, when you found yourself not playing, it’s hard.
“I was offered a new contract and I had a long think about it. I was offered more money at City but it’s not about the money. It’s about playing football now.
“It was so, so hard to leave and it was an emotional day for me yesterday [Monday]. I’ve been at City for so long and it is my club. Hopefully in the future I’ll be back in some capacity because they are a club close to my heart.”
Despite only featuring in nine Premier League games in the past two years, Richards admitted that he will continue to support the club and monitor how they do in this year's title-race.
He added: “If you look at the squads, City have the strongest squad and they are always looking to improve. Chelsea’s squad looks better now, and Mourinho is a tactical genius. Arsenal have a nice squad, so it’s going to be tough, but in my opinion it’s between City and Chelsea [for the title].”