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Witsel says failed moves created better opportunities

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Axel Witsel acknowledges that failed moves may have turned out to be the best thing.

The 30-year-old Belgian international reflects in an interview reported by Goal.com, about what could have been.

He currently plays in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund. This is in fact his first time in one of the “big five” football leagues of Europe.
This will be his second season at Dortmund, following a highly impressive debut season. He made 43 appearances and managed to contribute 6 goals in the process.
He made his senior professional footballing debut at Standard Liege. There in the Belgian first division he played 194 times, scored 45 goals and added 18 assists.
There was also a brief 52 game spell in Portugal, where he played 52 games and scored 5 goals, with 6 assists.
It was here that bigger clubs began to sit up and take notice of his capabilities.
However, he ended up going to Zenit St. Petersburg, after a move to Real Madrid was brought to an abrupt end after they signed another player.
He said:

“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.”

His time in Russia was considered productive, his form showed he was playing well. He played 180 times for Zenit, scoring 22 goals and having 14 assists.

His time in Russia was coming to an end, and Witsel was about to be on the move again, he hoped for a top European side.

He says about this next move in his career:

“My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus.”

“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.”

Witsel eventually made a move to China, where he spent 18 months.

After that experience, he was almost 29 years of age and knew this next move may be his last opportunity for the big leagues.

However, he knew that he didn’t want to go somewhere and sit on the bench.

That opportunity came in the way of Borussia Dortmund. He says there was the talk of PSG and United, but the idea of playing regularly is what appealed to him.

He continues:

“I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait.”

“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.”

After talking to the Dortmunds manager ant the time and sporting director, he felt that the move to Germany was best for him.

Axel Witsel says on his move to a top European club:

“First (Dortmund sporting director) Michael Zorc approached me, then (manager) Lucien Favre called me.”

“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.”

DORTMUND, GERMANY – AUGUST 03: Axel Witsel of Borussia Dortmund lifts the DFL Supercup Trophy following his team’s victory in the DFL Supercup 2019 match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München at Signal Iduna Park on August 03, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)