Liverpool midfielder, Jordan Henderson, 33, has finalized a transfer to Al-Ettifaq in a deal worth £12m plus additional payments.
In a farewell video released a day earlier, Henderson announced his departure from the club after an illustrious 12-year tenure that saw him secure victories in the Premier League and Champions League.
A statement from Liverpool expressed gratitude for Henderson’s contributions, with the club acknowledging his significant impact during his time with them.
The midfielder joined Liverpool from Sunderland in June 2011 for a fee of £20m and went on to make 492 appearances for the Reds, scoring 33 goals and providing 57 assists. He played a pivotal role in helping the club secure seven major trophies.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Henderson as a legend in a video message shared on the club’s social media channels, praising his exceptional leadership on and off the pitch.
Henderson will reunite with former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who now manages the Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.
Klopp admitted that Henderson’s departure was a tough decision for the player but expressed excitement for the new chapter in his career.
The Liverpool manager acknowledged that Henderson’s absence would be deeply felt, both as a player and as a person, emphasizing that such transitions are a part of football.
During his time at Liverpool, Henderson took on the role of captain in 2015 and led the team to victories in the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.
He also played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s Premier League triumph in the 2019-20 season, ending a 30-year title drought.
Henderson’s achievements with Liverpool include winning the FA Cup in 2022 and the League Cup in 2012 and 2022.
Although he joined the team during their training camp in Germany, he did not participate in their opening pre-season match against Karlsruher on July 19, as the agreement with Al-Ettifaq had been reached in principle.
Liverpool fans expressed their gratitude to Henderson across various social media platforms following his goodbye video. Stonewall, the LGBTQ+ charity behind the Rainbow Laces campaign, also thanked Henderson for his support.
However, some LGBTQ+ campaigners criticized Henderson’s move due to Saudi Arabia’s laws against same-sex sexual activity, despite his previous public support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who revealed his homosexuality in 2014, commented on social media about Henderson’s transfer, expressing curiosity about the player’s future branding.
Hitzlsperger also reflected on his earlier belief in Henderson’s genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community.
On July 14, Saudi club Al-Ittihad made a £40m bid for Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, further highlighting the increasing involvement of Saudi clubs in the transfer market.
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