Paris - All Black great Dan Carter said the sheer quality of the players in France's Top 14 was a key reason in him joining Racing Metro, as he was unveiled in a video conference here on Thursday.
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But money was undoubtedly a factor too as the blockbuster deal to lure the 32-year-old New Zealand flyhalf to France is reported to be worth up to €1.5m (R21.4m) a year per season, which would make him the best-paid player in the world.
"I am delighted to announce that I have signed a three-year contract with French club Racing Metro," said Carter, who will join the Parisians after next year's Rugby World Cup.
"Some of the very best players in the world are in France," Carter stressed.
He went on to heap praise on Racing Metro's impressive wealth of talent, which includes the likes of Irishman Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips of Wales and young French pair Brice Dulin and Teddy Thomas, and also the vision of Racing's super wealthy owner Jacky Lorenzetti, who was just as delighted as the player himself.
"Carter will be the best-paid player at Racing but also the least expensive because of the economic benefits," explained Lorenzetti, a real estate magnate worth more than €500m.
The player preferred to focus on other details of the deal.
"It is a very exciting time to be living back in France again and also playing French rugby," said Carter, who ruptured an Achilles tendon after five games for Perpignan in 2008-2009 in his previous short stint in France.
Injuries have made Carter a bit-part player for New Zealand, even if national handler Steve Hansen insists he is his first choice flyhalf.
But the move to France means he would no longer be eligible for national team duty.
"It is always tough knowing that you will no longer be playing for the All Blacks, but going to play in the Top 14 is very exciting," said Carter.
"The simple reason I chose Racing Metro is because I will be playing rugby at the very highest level and I will be playing in the European championship and the Top 14 is something that I am really looking forward to," he said.
Fears over his physical fitness were brushed aside as Carter insisted he has what it takes to deliver for Racing Metro.
"I am confident that my body will be good for 2015, and I am really excited to be playing in a brand new arena in Paris.
"I want to play at the highest level and hopefully win some trophies with the club. My body is good even if it has been a frustrating year with a few injuries and niggles," said Carter, who will stay with the Crusaders until September next year.
He has played 102 Tests for New Zealand, scoring a world record 1 457 points, and was named the world player of the year in 2005 and 2012.
He was a member of the All Blacks teams in 2003 and 2007 that failed to make the final and was part of the victorious 2011 New Zealand squad but missed the knockout stages with a groin injury, later admitting he did not feel he deserved his winner's medal.