Jordan Henderson moved to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ettifaq this summer, bringing an end to his 12-year stay at Liverpool.
The 33-year-old became one of the most high-profile players to join the Saudi Pro League gravy train.
However, Henderson has rejected claims he moved to the Middle East solely for financial reasons.
He claims he made the decision after learning he would have limited opportunities at Anfield during a private conversation with manager Jurgen Klopp.
Henderson told The Athletic: “There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing. I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen. He was very honest with me.
“I won’t go into detail about the conversation because it’s private, but it put me in a position where I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing as much. I knew there were going to be new players coming in my position.
“And if I’m not playing, as anybody will know, especially the manager, that can be quite difficult for me and especially when I’ve been at a club for so long, I’ve captained the team for so long.
“Especially when England’s a big thing for me. You’ve got the Euros coming up.
“And then there was an approach from Al-Ettifaq to the club to see if it would be possible for me to go there. The reaction from the club again wasn’t to say ‘no’.
“At that moment I felt as though my value or the want for me to stay, with the manager and within the club, maybe it had shifted. I knew that time would come at some point. I didn’t think it would be now. And I had to accept that.
“I’ve got very good relationships with Jurgen, with the owners of the club. That’ll be forever. What we’ve achieved together in the past 12 years has been incredible. But at the same time, it was hard for me to take that.”
Henderson was one of the most important players at Liverpool during his 12-year stint at the club.
He made over 400 appearances in all competitions, helping his side win the Premier League, the Champions League and the two domestic cups.
The midfielder was made the team’s captain by Klopp after Steven Gerrard’s departure in 2015.
However, his relationship with fans deteriorated following his decision to join the Saudi Pro League. The supporters were unhappy that he moved to a country where homosexuality is criminalised.
The 33-year-old has faced more scrutiny than the other players because he has been a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
Henderson insisted his move wasn’t solely motivated by financial considerations, but it was clearly one of the main incentives for the transfer.
- Cinch terminates SPFL sponsorship deal after Rangers refuse to display car branding
- Leeds defender Liam Cooper makes Scotland squad for Spain clash
- Brennan Johnson to miss Wales international games & Tottenham clash with Luton
- Chelsea defender Reece James handed one-match ban for improper conduct
- Jurgen Klopp calls for replay of controversial Liverpool vs. Tottenham clash