Algeria international Youcef Bellaili says loyalty was the factor behind rejecting a lucrative offer from Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly.
Bellaili, 28, went from serving a two-year ban after testing positive for having traces of cocaine in his system in 2015 to winning back-to-back CAF Champions League titles and the Africa Cup of Nations between 2018 and 2019.
The Algerian who was once on trial at Arsenal during his formative years represents one of Africa's mystery talents and with Esperance reviving his career towards an integral role with Djamel Belmadi's Algeria squad, he admits he could not betray them by joining their continental rivals.
Ahly is said to have tabled a three-year deal for the technically gifted playmaker, which he revealed to Qatari Al-Kass was never considered as a viable option.
"I had a lot of offers, but there were problems with the team I play for [Ahli Jeddah], so the transfer window ended in Europe before I got the clearance from FIFA," Bellaili explained.
"There was a huge offer from Al Ahly of Egypt, but I preferred to move to the Qatari League, rather than play in the Egyptian League, but I thank Al-Ahly management and its fans for the love and respect that has shown them."
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Having opted to move to the QNB Stars League with Qatar SC, Bellaili reiterated he would not join any other team in Africa other than Esperance, where he won four Ligue 1 titles.
"I said before that if I decided to return to Africa, it would be through Tunisia's Esperance, and that is why I preferred not to return to another team."
Bellaili scored 21 goals and registered 37 assists in 103 games for the Tunisian giants before his big-money move to the Middle East after leading Les Verts to continental glory in Egypt last year.