Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier insists his January move from Atletico Madrid was not driven by money.
The England star has been an instant hit at St James’ Park, helping the Magpies stay up and starring in a bright start to the 2022/23 season.
However, upon joining the Toon, many questioned why Trippier would swap Champions League football and a LaLiga title race for a relegation battle.
The 31-year-old was the first marquee signing of the new Saudi-backed regime, arriving weeks after Newcastle became the richest club in world football.
But when asked if he joined the Magpies for the money, Trippier suggested the more lucrative option was to stay in Spain.
He told talkSPORT: “If it was about money, I would’ve stayed in Madrid and signed a new contract.
“It certainly wasn’t about money. It might be hard for people to believe that, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
“I came here for the project, the manager, coming back to the north of England.
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“I know they were in a relegation battle at the time but I’m not scared of challenges. I have no regrets.
“That was my thought process. If anyone thinks differently, no problem!”
And given Newcastle’s strong start to the season, suffering just one defeat in six games, Trippier feels vindicated.
He added: “I think it was the right decision. I only had a year left in Madrid, there were things on the table.
“But I think with the manager coming here, the potential I could see, how big the club can get… I just thought, ‘Why not?’
“It’s a great challenge for myself. It’s panned out the way I thought it would, in terms of staying up and competing with teams like Man City and Liverpool, going toe-for-toe with them.”
Nevertheless, the former Burnley and Tottenham defender is thankful for his time at Atletico, which helped him rejuvenate his career.
Trippier has waxed lyrical about Atleti boss Diego Simeone and his fierce disciplinarianism, which appears in stark contract to softly-spoken Newcastle manager Eddie Howe.
But the Three Lions full-back insists the two managers share similarities, although only one dishes out the hairdryer treatment.
Trippier continued: “I learned a lot about myself in Spain, how to mature on and off the field.
“I certainly learned that from Simeone.
“I saw it a few times with Simeone, some players got the hairdryer treatment and I’ve had it a few times as well.
“They set up their teams differently, but the way they are with the players is incredible. Their man management is incredible.”