Kolo Toure has vowed to fight for his place at Manchester City after turning down a lucrative move to Turkey.
Toure's long-term ban allowed Joleon Lescott to establish himself as the first-choice partner for captain Vincent Kompany at the centre of the City defence last season.
With firm interest from Turkey, Toure looked set to leave the Etihad Stadium this summer.
But the 31-year-old has revealed he turned down those offers as he was not ready to leave the Premier League.
"There were other clubs in for me in the summer, but I love England," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"Some good Turkish clubs came in with good offers but I want to stay at the top, play in the Premier League and prove I am still one of the best defenders out there."
Although City offloaded Stefan Savic in the summer, he was part of the deal that brought in Matija Nastasic from Fiorentina.
Manager Roberto Mancini showed that Nastasic is above Toure in the pecking order by giving the 19-year-old Serbian his City debut at Real Madrid.
Toure did start against Liverpool and during the Capital One Cup defeat by Aston Villa in midweek and, although the Ivory Coast international is frustrated at being a bit-part player, he is determined to secure more game-time.
"Since I came back from the problem I had I have been fourth choice every time, and that has been really difficult," he said. "It is hard to come in and give your best.
"I feel I can still get into the team. Ask anybody - every day at training I give everything. Joleon and Vincent have been fantastic and deserve their place, but it's much harder when a young player comes and steps in front of you.
"It's hard, but that is the manager's choice and what can I do? I need to work hard and that is alright by me.
"Sometimes I am not on the bench and that is not easy, but it's up to me to prove to the manager that I am still one of the best."