Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has finally revealed that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season in an emotional interview.
The 30-year-old has proved a fantastic servant to his side since joining from Newcastle in 2016. His arrival from the then-relegated Magpies came as a surprise, but he has proved his doubters wrong. Indeed, he has barely missed a Premier League game and his manager gave him a fitting send-off in Sunday’s programme notes.
Jurgen Klopp said that Wijnaldum had been the “architect” of his club’s success since he arrived.
The Dutchman has previously kept his decision over his future close to his chest. However, after helping seal the Reds’ top-four place with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, he made his intentions clear after the final whistle.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he revealed that Klopp‘s first words to him over his time at Anfield came true.
“I’m fighting against tears right now,” he said. “The people in Liverpool have shown me love during the five years. I will miss them, you know?”
“I hope to have played many more years for the club but unfortunately things went different. I have to start a new adventure.
“I knew I went to a big club. I remember that I was sitting in the living room and the manager said when I come to Liverpool we would win prizes. I am happy it went that well. It would have been really painful to leave the club without any.”
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Wijnaldum added when reflecting on his time at Liverpool: “It’s really special. Since I’ve joined the fans have sung my name.
“Week-in, week-out they saw I was giving 100% to give everything for this club. That’s what the supporters want to see and that’s what they appreciate from me. It is something I’m going to miss.”
Klopp also insisted in his pre-match reading that it remained an “if” for Wijnaldum to leave.
However, he was able to offer a heartfelt tribute to the player in his post-match press conference (via YouTube).
Klopp offers Wijnaldum tribute
“From the moment, it clicked between us. He’s a very friendly, very smart, very open person and that never changed – it just improved,” he added.
“Yes, it’s very emotional for me because I lose a friend and I will miss him, that’s how it is.
“But it’s normal in football that these kind of things happen. Not nice but normal and I’m really sure that he will find a great place from each club that is interested in him.
“If you call me and ask about him, you will take him, definitely, because I couldn’t be more positive about what he did here. He’s incredible.
“Not only always available, but he played 90 per cent of the time really, really good.”