Later News Jul 26

Wijnaldum bemoans lack of love, appreciation while at Liverpool


Former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has pinpointed an absence of love and appreciation fans on social media as the main reason why he decided to leave the club this summer.

 

The 30-year-old refused to sign a new deal with the Reds, and instead opted to join French outfit Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, where he can at least find comfort by swimming in a pool of Euros (€) even if he fails to find love there again.

 

WATCH: Wijnaldum's first interview at PSG

 

While Wijnaldum has long been a favourite of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who had called him a “wonderful player” and a “friend”, the Dutchman apparently felt alienated by certain segments of the Liverpool fanbase, especially on social media.

 

“There was a moment when I didn't feel loved and appreciated,” Wijnaldum said. “Not my teammates, not the people at Melwood. From them I know, I can say they all love me and I love them. It was not from that side. More the other side.

 

“On social media, if we lost, I was the one who got the blame. There was a moment when I was like: ‘Wow. If they only knew what I was doing to stay fit and play every game.’

 

“Other players might have said: ‘OK, I am not fit.’ You get players in their last year who are like: ‘I'm not playing because it is a risk.’ I did the opposite.”

 

WATCH: Wijnaldum's impact at Liverpool

 

Wijnaldum’s claims will come as a setback to the ‘You’ll never walk alone’ mantra that Liverpool fans are so fiercely proud of, with the midfielder evidently having felt quite alone in the social media sphere.

 

Wijnaldum, however, was keen to make it clear that this only applied to fans on social media, as supporters who were physically at the stadium had always given him their backing – which kind of figures, because people generally have twice the testicular fortitude on social media than they do in real life.

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"My feeling was that the fans in the stadium and the fans on social media were two different kinds,” said Wijnaldum, who won the Champions League and the English Premier League (EPL) in his five years at Liverpool.

 

“The fans in the stadium always supported me. Even when they came back (after the COVID-19 break), already knowing that I was going to leave, they still supported me and, in the end, they gave me a great farewell.”

 

Meanwhile, Liverpool centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will miss the Reds’ next pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin this week, with Klopp determined not to rush them back from injury.

 

WATCH: Klopp talks about pre-season and energy of the team

 

The duo missed the majority of last season through injury – Van Dijk got Jordan Pickforded, while Gomez injured his knee on England duty – but have now recovered, and are back in full training.

 

Nonetheless, Klopp is wary of giving the duo game time any time soon for fear that they might suffer an injury set-back.

 

When asked about Van Dijk and Gomez’s chances of playing against Hertha, Klopp said: “Yeah, it would still be a surprise, unfortunately.

 

WATCH: Konate, Van Dijk, Salah in pre-season training

 

“But they look really good. We just have to be patient – we prepare for a full season, not for a pre-season game. I will not risk it for a game here, so we have to see. We have a lot of games still coming, pre-season games, but I don't see them being involved for the next one.”