Henrikh Mkhitaryan has hit back at critics who suggested he moved to Manchester United for financial reasons.
Mkhitaryan switched to Old Trafford for £26.3m in a deal that Dortmund described as “incredibly lucrative”, with reports in Germany suggesting the Armenian was to treble his salary and bank a substantial signing-on bonus.
But the 28-year-old has baulked at suggestions he headed to England for money – and hit back at previous criticism from Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
“If it was only about money for me, I would have moved from Shakhtar Donetsk to Anzhi Makhachkala and not to Borussia Dortmund. But I didn’t want that. I wanted to develop myself further.”
Watzke described Mkhitaryan’s Manchester move as “odd” and had told German media he was “disappointed” that the Armenia international had not taken a penalty against Bayern Munich in last season’s German Cup final, which Dortmund lost in a shoot-out.
But Mkhitaryan said: “If he wants to assess me on the basis of one game, that’s wrong. He’s probably forgotten what I did the whole season before.
“I would have scored a penalty in Berlin. But there’s a coach and 11 players on the pitch and we discussed who would take one.”
Mkhitaryan has starred for Jose Mourinho’s side in recent weeks after a prolonged spell watching on from the sidelines and admitted he was pleased to see former Bundesliga rival Bastian Schweinsteiger given an apparent reprieve.
“I’m glad he’s getting his chance again,” he said of Schweinsteiger, who has been restored to Mourinho’s Europa League squad.
“He knows exactly what to do on the pitch. I can only report positively about him; he’s got a great character.”