Micah Richards has admitted that he was so determined to play first-team football that he turned down a pay rise at Manchester City.
The England international defender signed for Fiorentina on a season-long loan on Monday and admits he could have earned more had he accepted an extended contract at the Etihad Stadium.
But he said his priority is to revive his career after only making nine league starts in the last two years for City as he struggled with injuries and played second fiddle to Pablo Zabaleta who established himself as the first-choice right-back.
"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 blood, sweat and tears for them. When you find 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."
Richards was City's longest-serving player and made 255 appearances since his debut in 2005 but, as he is out of contract next summer, his career at his only club has effectively come to an end.
He added: "It was so, so hard to leave and it was an emotional day for me."
The 26-year-old said he has not ruled out returning to the Etihad Stadium one day, explaining: "Hopefully, in the future, I'll be back in some capacity because they are a club close to my heart."