Everton striker Romelu Lukaku says he rejected Italian giants Juventus despite his burning desire to ply in the UEFA Champions League.
Lukaku has long made his desire to play in the elite level of European football clear to his club and the media, but decided against moving to Turin in the summer after the arrival of Roland Koeman.
The robust forward, who joined the Toffees from Chelsea for a reported club record fee of £28million in 2014, says he only wanted to leave as he felt the club weren't progressing under former boss Roberto Martinez.
"It stings a little [not being in Europe], but I'm someone who believes that everything happens for a reason," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "Otherwise I would have gone to Juventus instead of staying at Everton.
"Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with Mr [Roberto] Martinez, but I think we can make progress under Ronald Koeman. It may be the last step and then look further.
"I knew of the interest of a few clubs, it was quickly very clear that Everton would not let me go," the 23-year old added. "It was important to me that I remained calm, and I did.
"I said to myself that I will do my best and who knows what will happen in the future. For me football is not about money – I want to win prizes."