It’s a shame it has come to this. Liverpool fanatic Georginio Wijnaldum has broken his silence on his departure from the club this summer – and he has not held back.
The Dutchman, who made the switch from Merseyside to Paris last month after his contract with Reds expired, has spoken out about his summer break.
Wijnaldum played a vital role in the club’s success in the Champions League and Premier League. No Reds fan will ever forget his sensational double off the bench in the remarkable comeback against Barcelona at Anfield en route to European glory.
Georginio Wijnaldum (L) broke his silence on leaving Jurgen Klopp’s (R) Liverpool this summer
Ultimately, Liverpool’s hierarchy – club owner John W Henry pictured – was reluctant to go against their strict policy of refusing long, bumper contracts to players over 30
Wijnaldum joined PSG on a three-year deal after his contract with Liverpool expired in June
In five top seasons, the midfielder has missed just 11 games – a staggering feat given the rigors of modern football – and rarely put on a bad show.
One of the few players Jürgen Klopp could rely on, he was constantly riding around the engine room as Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita struggled with injuries and fluttered in and out.
It came as a surprise and a disappointment that the Merseyside giants were unable to agree on new terms and were instead happy that his contract was expiring.
“There was a moment when I didn’t feel loved and appreciated,” the 30-year-old said, shedding light on his departure over the weekend. ‘Not [by] my teammates, not the folks at Melwood. Of those I know, I can say that they all love me and I love them. It wasn’t from that side, more from the other side.’
It’s not clear who the Holland international was referring to when he said ‘the other side’, but it could be seen as targeting those in power at Anfield.
Losing him to French giant Paris Saint-Germain – who could play Liverpool in Europe – for nothing was painful. It hurts the fact that one of Liverpool’s most consistent players of late has felt unappreciated.
In the last game of the Dutch midfielder for Liverpool, he received a guard of honor on the field
finally the Liverpool hierarchy – the FSG owners – were reluctant to give in and went against their strict policy of refusing long, lucrative contracts to players over 30.
Another discouraging conclusion of Wijnaldum’s revelation was that he felt unfairly treated by some of the club’s fans online.
“I have to say there was also social media. When things went bad I was the player they blamed – said I wanted to leave.
“I gave everything in training and in the game every day to make it through. Over the years, Liverpool has meant so much to me and the way the fans in the stadium treated me.
Wijnaldum played a key role in Liverpool’s success in the Champions League and Premier League League
Wijnaldum will be sorely missed by Liverpool boss Klopp and the majority of supporters
“If we lost on social media, I was blamed. There was a moment when I thought ‘wow, if only they knew what I was doing to stay fit and play every game”. You get players in their senior year who say ‘I don’t play because it’s a risk’.
‘I did the opposite. I trained hard, I gave everything. I didn’t always play well, but after the game I could look in the mirror and say: ”I trained hard to get better”.
“I think the fans in the stadium and the fans on social media – I felt like they were two different things. I can’t say anything bad about them in the stadium. They have always supported me.
‘Even when they came back’ [into the stadium], even though they knew I was going to leave, they still supported me and finally gave me a great goodbye.”
Liverpool face a similar dilemma with Jordan Henderson’s future uncertain
WINEALDUM AT LIVERPOOL
2016-17: 36 apps, 43 chances created, 87.3 percent shot accuracy
2017-18: 33 apps, 22 chances created, 89.9 percent pass accuracy
2018-19: 35 apps, 25 chances created, 91.1 passing accuracy
2019-20: 37 apps, 18 chances created, 90.8 percent shot accuracy
2020-21: 38 apps, 21 chances created, 92.7 percent shot accuracy
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher defended his former club over Wijnaldum’s departure and hit back at the Dutchman’s comments, insisting the new PSG star “wanted more money but the club said no”.
Last season, Wijnaldum played all 38 games in the Premier League, creating 21 chances and having a passing accuracy of 92.7 percent. No other Liverpool midfielder showed such a high degree of solidity.
Wijnaldum arguably had some bargaining power given his influence over Klopp’s juggernaut in recent seasons, but ultimately football clubs are businesses and money talks.
Liverpool are now in a similar situation to skipper Jordan Henderson.
The future of the English star is uncertain as Sports post understands that talks on a new contract after 2023 have stalled and there is uncertainty as to when and whether negotiations will continue.
It is sad that Wijnaldum’s departure has turned sour and the Reds will want to avoid a repeat of what has boiled over in recent weeks.
He will be sorely missed by Klopp, his former team-mates and the majority of supporters – and Liverpool may well regret taking the Gini out of the bottle.