• Premier League

Reina 'deserved better' from Liverpool

ESPN staff
July 29, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Pepe Reina has penned an open letter to Liverpool fans angrily claiming he has been forced out of Anfield

Pepe Reina has accused Liverpool of going behind his back to sort out a deal to loan him to Napoli.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper claimed he "deserved better" from those in charge at Anfield after moving to Italy for the 2013-14 season.

Reina was allowed to leave after manager Brendan Rodgers brought in Simon Mignolet from Sunderland in a £9 million deal.

Rodgers said last week that he decided to move for Mignolet because he felt there was a strong possibility that Reina would leave to return to his first club Barcelona.

The Spain international had been constantly linked with a return to the Nou Camp throughout the spring, but prospects of a move faded when Barca first choice Victor Valdes indicated that he would see out his contract until 2014 rather than leave this summer.

Reina, who stated that his eight years at Liverpool have given him "some of the best experiences of my life", has admitted that he would have wanted the club to consider an offer from Barcelona.

But in an open letter to the club's fans, published on his website, he insisted that it was not his decision to leave Anfield.

The goalkeeper wrote: "It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first.

"I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football.

"A lot has been made about me informing the club that if an offer came in from Barcelona that I would have liked them to consider it.

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"But I had also spoken to the club about the possibility of extending my contract if the offer was not made.

"I told the manager that I wanted to play for Liverpool and that Barcelona would only become an option for me if the opportunity arrived, like the rumours said it would, as it would be a chance for me to go back home.

"When it didn't come, I was happy to fight for my place - so I was surprised that Liverpool decided it was in the club's interests to send me to Napoli instead."

Liverpool have so far made no comment in response to Reina's claims, although Rodgers last week outlined his reasons for allowing the loan departure of the keeper, who is under contract at Anfield until 2016.

Rodgers said at the time: "As manager, I was led to believe we were going to get an offer for Pepe Reina that would probably see him leave the club.

"Obviously, on the football side we had to ensure we protected the team. At that stage, we started our search for another goalkeeper and we found Simon Mignolet, who is top class and one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

"As events transpired, Pepe's move didn't quite happen and that left us with two very good goalkeepers. Both would have been fighting for the number one position.

"An opportunity arose for Pepe and it was one we felt as a football club was best for him to take.

"As a senior goalkeeper, he needs to be playing. It's a very important year for him with the World Cup next year. It wouldn't have served any purpose, both for the club and him personally, if he'd been the one missing out."

Reina insists he retains a fondness for Liverpool, and believes the club - who finished seventh in the Premier League last season - are on the right path to reclaiming a top-four spot.

He wrote: "They [Liverpool's supporters and players] deserve the best of times and it would give me so much pleasure to see Liverpool back where they belong, challenging for trophies and getting back into the top four.

"That was where the club was when I first arrived and although I am leaving a different club, one with new owners, a new manager, new players and new challenges, I honestly believe that Liverpool can reach those levels again."

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