Former Liverpool midfield powerhouse and new PSG signing Georginio Wijnaldum has opened up on circumstances that led to his exit from Liverpool at the end of his contract last season.
Wijnaldum, who joined French giants PSG on a free after 5 meritorious years at Liverpool,reveals that he would have loved to stay more at Liverpool but for some things that weren’t going right for him.
the player cites a lack of appreciation from Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group owners who refused to offer him an appreciable contract renewal and a lack of love from the club’s social media fans who picked on him when Liverpool’s results suffered last season.
“I would have loved to remain a Liverpool player for many more years but unfortunately things were different. There was a moment when I didn’t feel loved and appreciated,” he says. “Not my teammates, not the people at Melwood. From them, I know … I can say they all love me and I love them. It was not from that side, more the other side.”
His contractual stand-off with the owners was long running and became, ultimately, impossible to resolve. The Netherlands international wanted certain assurances in terms of a renewed overall package but FSG were unwilling to grant them for a player of his age.
The 30-year old felt underappreciated after all his efforts over five seasons at the club when he won the Champions League, Premier League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup.
And as the stand-off lingered over his refusal to renew his contract with Liverpool,the club’s social media fans found him an easy target for blame with every defeat in the pitch. The critics conflated his contractual situation with the club’s disappointing results.
“I have to say also there was social media,” Wijnaldum says. “When it went bad, I was the player who they blamed – that I wanted to leave. Every day in training and in the games, I gave everything I had to bring it to a good end because, during the years, Liverpool meant so much to me and because of the way the fans in the stadium were treating me.
“My feeling was that the fans in the stadium and the fans on social media were two different kinds. The fans in the stadium always supported me. Even when they came back [after the Covid lockout], already knowing that I was going to leave, they still supported me and, in the end, they gave me a great farewell.
“On social media, if we lost, I was the one who got the blame. There was a moment when I was like: ‘Wow. If they only knew what I was doing to stay fit and play every game.’ Other players might have said: ‘OK, I am not fit.’ You get players in their last year who are like: ‘I’m not playing because it is a risk.’ I did the opposite.
“I didn’t always play good but, after the game, I could look in the mirror and say: ‘I gave it all. I trained hard to get better.’ Even with the physios … I took the most possible treatment I could get. I cannot remember when I had a day off because I played so many games and basically it was too much for the body but I did everything to stay fit.”