Sunderland winger Emanuele Giaccherini says "inner pride" was the key to him leaving Juventus, a decision he says was never easy, but one he does not regret taking this summer.
The 28-year-old returned to Italy for international duty on Monday and he met the media on Wednesday when his move to the Black Cats caught the curiosity of the local journalists more than the Azzurri’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
"Every player has to follow his own path," said the former Cesena winger. "Football is a part of your life which comes and goes; it’s a job, and sooner or later, it’s over.
"Leaving Juve was a very difficult decision, but I evaluated all of the aspects, not only financially, and I made up my mind, also because [Italy coach Cesare] Prandelli told me not to worry, that I would still be considered.
"It was hard. It was a life’s decision which enables me to play regularly, even turning down Juve, which is the highest point I could ever have reached. A footballer has to look within himself, though, and I my inner pride decided for me.
"I wanted to be a key player. I was that whenever I played for Juve, but it’s true that playing constantly helps. If another top Italian club had asked for me, I would not have gone because I was already at a top club."
Having scaled the heights of Serie A, and appeared in the Champions League, Giaccherini chose to re-evaluate his career by moving to the Premier League.
"It is a step backwards for me personally in terms of quality because, with the Bianconeri, I was challenging for the title and playing in the Champions League, whereas with Sunderland I’m fighting for survival, but I also want to be in the limelight," Giaccherini said, before likening Paolo Di Canio to his boss at Juventus Antonio Conti.
"They are very similar in many ways," he said. "You can see he is putting his stamp on the side."