Belfast Telegraph

Meireles denies he forced Reds exit

Raul Meireles has insisted he never wanted to leave Liverpool but admitted he jumped at the chance to join Chelsea when it became clear he would be sold.

Meireles handed in a late transfer request to complete a reported £12million move from Anfield to Stamford Bridge minutes before the transfer window slammed shut last week, reuniting him with former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas.

The 28-year-old told his new club's official website: "I made the right choice last year to come to England and to come to Liverpool and this year was different because I knew that I didn't want to leave Liverpool. I felt that the new owners didn't want to sell me, but when I knew that Chelsea and Andre wanted me, it convinced me."

Meireles added: "It was strange, because I knew of the interest of Chelsea, and the interest of the coach, and it was a pleasure to come to this club but it was strange because it was on the last day.

"The people think that I wanted to leave and it is only because Chelsea wanted me. For Andre to want me, that is why I wanted to go."

Meireles was out of the country on international duty on transfer deadline day, which he ended with the Portugal squad in Cyprus.

And there are no shortage of familiar faces at Stamford Bridge for the midfielder, who worked very briefly under Villas-Boas at Porto and also knows Chelsea's Portuguese stars Jose Bosingwa, Paulo Ferreira and Hilario, as well as Brazilian duo Ramires and David Luiz.

Meireles said: "I have a lot of friends here, Portuguese players that I know from Porto and the national team, and Jose Bosingwa helped me a lot in these first days.

"I know that Chelsea is a great club, one of the best clubs in the world, and it is not too difficult to convince me to come. Paulo and Hilario I know well, and Ramires and David Luiz I know from the Portuguese League, where they did a very good job in Benfica.

"They were very difficult opponents. Ramires only played one year in Portugal and that year they won the championship and he is a fantastic footballer. David Luiz also was very good. We talk the same language so now it is easy."


From Belfast Telegraph