Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Reina 'not angry' with Reds

Jose Reina has swapped England for Italy

Jose Reina will "always be grateful" to Liverpool, despite the manner in which he left the club.

The Spain goalkeeper released an open letter to Reds' fans on his website on Monday, expressing his regret that the Reds had loaned him out to Napoli without telling him first.

But, in an interview with Spanish radio show El Larguero, he sought to clarify his thoughts about his time at Anfield.

"I'm not angry with Liverpool - quite the opposite. I am very grateful to them for everything they have given me," he said. "My departure was different to what I expected, but I will always be grateful to them.

"This is the nature of football - when you are loved by a team, you really feel it, but when you go through bad moments, you are treated differently. In the end I will remember the love I felt from the fans for so many years.

"My time in England is where I have felt truly like a footballer and I have put my name among the best players. I'm very proud to have played almost 400 games with Liverpool.

"I'll remember the friends I made in and outside the dressing room. Trophies stay in the cabinet gathering dust, but friends are for life."

The shot-stopper explained that Liverpool arranged his loan move to Naples behind his back, but the presence of former Reds boss Rafael Benitez, with whom he worked for five seasons on Merseyside, convinced him to agree to the move.

"The signing wasn't sealed, because you can't do that without the consent of the player, but it was at an advanced stage and I didn't know about it," he said.

"Rafael Benitez is the best coach I have had. I don't know if I'd have joined Napoli without him being there. There are many positive things about the city of Napoli and they have a fervent support, like Liverpool's, but Benitez being there made it much easier for me to sign."

Reina joins a Napoli side which finished second in Serie A last season and which will be competing in the Champions League next term. Although the Italian outfit have parted ways with Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, they have brought in Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon.

The 30-year-old won the 2006 FA Cup and 2012 League Cup with Liverpool, but is now looking forward to challenging for league titles and battling with Europe's elite.

"We are building a great squad and we hope to be able to compete at the highest level," he said. "I also want to fight to win Serie A and return to the Champions League. You miss these things and this year I'm going to experience them again."

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