London — Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said his goodbyes to the club’s fans on Wednesday ahead of an impending move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq.
The 33-year-old is set to bring to an end a 12-year spell at Anfield, in which he won every major club honour, when he joins up with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard, now the manager of the Saudi Pro League side.
“It’s hard to put these last 12 years into words and it’s even harder to say goodbye,” said England international Henderson in an Instagram post. “I will always be a Red. Until the day I die.
“Thank you for everything. You’ll never walk alone.”
Henderson added in a video accompanying his post: “I’m in the (Liverpool) dressing room for the last time so, as you can imagine, it is very emotional.
It’s hard to put these last 12 years into words and it’s even harder to say goodbye. I will always be a Red. Until the day I die.
Thank you for everything.
You’ll never walk alone.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) July 26, 2023
“I need to somehow explain what these last 12 years have meant for me and my family.
“Being made the captain of Liverpool Football Club was one the greatest honours of my life.
“From the day the armband was passed to me I did everything I could to behave like a Liverpool captain should.
“Thank you for allowing me to be part of your club, thank you for your support in good times and bad.”
Henderson led the Reds to their first English league title for 30 years in 2020, a year after lifting the Champions League.
However, the England midfielder has been tempted to join Gerrard after reportedly being offered a deal worth up to £700 000-a-week ($915 000)
Liverpool are set to receive a fee of £12 million ($15.5 million).
Jordan Henderson, new Al Ettifaq player as contracts are being signed right now.
Henderson is in Croatia @ Al Ettifaq’s camp to complete his move on three year deal.
It’s the end of an era at #LFC after 492 apps, 39 goals, 74 assists, 8 trophies.
Official soon 🟢🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/vMrMnd1FJs
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2023
Gerrard was appointed manager of Al Ettifaq earlier this month.
Henderson joined Liverpool from Sunderland in 2011 and succeeded Gerrard as skipper at Anfield in 2015.
His apparent decision to move to the Gulf state has been criticised by Liverpool’s LGBT+ fans group Kop Outs.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of attempting to “sportswash” its human rights record by hosting major sporting events and now attracting some of the world’s best footballers to its domestic league.
The conservative monarchy executed 81 people in a single day last year, outlaws homosexuality and triggered international condemnation when journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
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