ROME, May 21 (Reuters) - Sporting reasons, not financial ones, were behind Mathieu Flamini's end-of-season move from Arsenal to AC Milan, the French midfielder said.
'I always said Milan would have been my first choice if I left Arsenal and I didn't do it for money,' Flamini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
'I don't say it to boast, but I had lots of offers and I chose Milan because it's every player's dream. It wasn't easy to decide to leave London but I knew what I wanted.'
The 24-year-old said he was not concerned Milan will miss the Champions League next season after finishing fifth in Serie A.
'I don't mind at all,' he said. 'Those who play in the UEFA Cup with Milan know that it's the exception of one season. Milan are the team with most (international) titles in the world.
'They are a great club with a great history, a good, amiable coach, excellent players, passionate fans. When I entered the San Siro on the night of Milan-Arsenal it made me shiver.'
He added that he is confident Serie A is on the up after the 2006 match-fixing scandal.
'Serie A is returning to the top. The problems are water under the bridge, lots of great players will come to Italy.'
The Frenchman also said he was glad to have the British tabloids off his back.
'If you say that in Italy the newspapers are not so interested in player's private lives you take a weight off my heart,' he said.
'In England, where otherwise I'm fine, paparazzi chasing players with new girls are a nightmare.'