Brendan Rodgers admits he is disappointed with Pepe Reina, who said his farewell to Liverpool despite still being under contract at the club.
The Spanish goalkeeper had been the undisputed first choice goalkeeper at Anfield following his arrival in the summer of 2005, until Simon Mignolet joined from Sunderland ahead of the current campaign. Not willing to play second fiddle, particularly in World Cup year, the former Villarreal ace was allowed to join Napoli on loan.
Reina has impressed whilst in Italy, but he is due back to Merseyside when the terms of his temporary deal expire. However, despite being under contract until 2016, the 31-year-old has penned a goodbye letter to his parent club, and this hasn’t gone down well with Rodgers who now believes there is unlikely to be a way back for the player.
“He’s already written his letter, hasn’t he? He wrote a goodbye letter, didn’t he?” he told the Liverpool Echo. “I was surprised at the letter – when you are a loan player I would expect that he should come back, but obviously Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli that he was looking to move. He penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he’d worked with (Rafa Benitez) and thanked him for his time for Liverpool. So, for me, it probably sounded like he’d made his decision there.”
It was initially expected that Reina would join one of his former clubs, Barcelona, during the summer window, with Victor Valdes already deciding to leave Catalonia when his deal expires at the end of the season. But it has since been claimed that the Camp Nou giants will instead sign Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with some reports suggesting the 21-year-old has already agreed a five-year contract.
Mignolet, meanwhile, has enjoyed his debut season at Liverpool, who are looking solid for a top-four finish with their points advantage over fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur currently standing at six. The Belgian has started all 27 Premier League matches thus far, and he will hope to play a part for his country in the World Cup Finals this summer.