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Micah Richards: It's not about the money, it's about playing football


Fiorentina defender Micah Richards confessed regular football was the reason why he left Manchester City.

The 26-year-old was loaned out to Italian side Fiorentina on a season-long deal with the Viola to pay £4.7m if they decide to make the move a permanent one at the end of the season.

The Englishman failed to make it as a regular for City with Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov all ahead in Manuel Pellegrini's pecking order, essentially leaving him no choice.

"I'm desperate to play football," Richards told talkSPORT.

"It's been a frustrating two years at Manchester City. It's my club and I've given my blood, sweat and tears for them.

"When you find yourself not playing, it's hard."

The 26-year-old revealed a new contract was offered by the Citizens but it was turned down to enjoy regular football elsewhere.

"I was offered a new contract and I had a long think about it," he said.

"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.

"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.

"I've been at City for 12 years so I obviously leave with mixed emotions."

Fiorentina lost their first game in the Serie A against Roma with Richards expected to be in the squad to face Genoa at home when the Italian championship resumes after the international break.

"I'm really looking forward to the new challenge the loan move to Fiorentina will offer and the chance to play abroad," the defender added.

"I just want to thank all the City fans and staff for their incredible support since I made my debut in 2005.

"They are the best fans in the country and I will always love the club.

"For Fiorentina fans, ciao! I'm looking forward to working hard for the team, playing for such a historic club and getting to grips with Italian football."

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Micah Richards