Carter nearly ditched All Blacks

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, May 19- Rugby superstar Dan Carter has admitted walking away from multi-million dollar European deals to re-sign with New Zealand was the "toughest decision in my career."

The goal-kicking fly-half, set to be a mainstay of the All Blacks’ home World Cup this year, said he was close to ditching New Zealand rugby before concluding a new four-year deal this week.

"Yeah, I was pretty close to going," he told Christchurch’s The Press newspaper. "It was a big decision, the toughest decision in my career so far.

"It wasn’t easy because one day I felt I wanted to be going and the next I felt as if I wanted to stay — things like that. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, these last six months."

Carter, 29, said he was "humbled" by the offers he received, which reportedly included a NZ$8.25 million ($6.5 million) contract with France’s Racing Metro.

His deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) — which does not consider foreign-based players for the national team — includes options for a lucrative "sabbatical" playing overseas following his 2008-2009 stint with Perpignan.

"I was quite flattered with some of the figures I was getting out of France and the UK. Staying here and living here for the next few years is important to me, but I will tell you what: it (the money) does make that decision a lot tougher," Carter told The Press.

"There were a few good offers — from Racing Metro, Perpignan and even Bath were in there as well. I was pretty humbled by how much they were prepared to offer."

Financial terms of the New Zealand contract were not revealed but NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said it could not match the amounts offered by overseas clubs.

Warren Alcock, from Carter’s management company, Essentially Group, said it had been the most comprehensive individual contract he had been involved in negotiating.

"It has a level of detail and complexity that we haven’t faced in New Zealand before," he said.

Carter made his All Blacks debut in 2003 and with 1,188 points is currently the second highest scorer in Test history after England’s Jonny Wilkinson.

Attention now shifts to talismanic All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who is yet to reveal his intentions after the World Cup, which will be played in New Zealand from September 9-October 23.

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