Around this time last year, I wrote a letter to say goodbye to Liverpool and the fans after I joined Napoli. Some people asked why I was doing it when I was only going on loan for a season and would be back within twelve months but the reality was that it was already clear to me that my time at Anfield was over. Liverpool had signed Simon Mignolet to be their new number one and I was being allowed to go out on loan so I wanted to take the opportunity to offer my thanks and bid farewell because I knew that I would not be back.
I suppose this is a bit of an update now that my departure has been confirmed and I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone at Liverpool – and I mean everyone – for everything that they have done for me over years. Last time, some of my words were misinterpreted and taken out of the context in which they were meant but it would never be my intention to leave Liverpool on anything but good terms so hopefully this will put that right once and for all.
I have been extremely fortunate to spend so many years at what I consider to be one of the greatest clubs in world football. It has been an honour and a privilege. The memories I have of Anfield, my team mates, the supporters and the people of Liverpool will stay with me forever. I am disappointed that I am leaving but only in the sense that I enjoyed being at the club so much and it is always difficult to say goodbye to something that is special to you. I will always be grateful to have played for Liverpool and my time at the club was always going to come to an end so we move on with no hard feelings.
All I can do now is look forward to a new adventure at Bayern Munich and being reunited with Pep Guardiola, who was my first captain at Barcelona. Hopefully I will enjoy being with them as much as I enjoyed being with Liverpool and again, I am fortunate to be going from one great club to another. I will return to at Anfield some time soon, though, only next time it will be as a fan rather than a player and I hope that when I do come back Liverpool will be challenging for the biggest trophies like they always should.
The final thing for me to do is to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me in any way since I joined Liverpool in 2005 – all of the managers who I have played under, all of the players who I shared a dressing room with, all of the staff who helped me in so many ways and every single one of the fans who gave the team and myself the kind of backing that others can only dream of. I count myself as a Liverpudlian and I will be one for life.
You’ll Never Walk Alone,