Jordan Henderson defends controversial move to Saudi Arabia… claims decision was not motivated by money as he insists he hasn’t prioritized pay package over morals

Jordan Henderson has put forth a staunch defence of his controversial transfer to Saudi Arabia, saying his Liverpool exit was not money motivated.

The former Anfield captain, who has faced criticism since signing a reported £700,000-a-week deal with Al Ettifaq, said:

‘People will see this club come with loads of money and (say) he’s just gone, when in reality that just wasn’t the case at all.

‘People can believe me or not, but in my life and my career, money has never been a motivation.

‘There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing. I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen (Klopp). He was very honest with me.

‘I won’t go into detail about the conversation because it’s private, but it put me in a position where I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing as much.

‘And if I’m not playing, as anybody will know, especially the manager, that can be quite difficult for me, especially when I’ve been at a club for so long. Especially when England’s a big thing for me.

‘I felt as though my value or the want for me to stay, with the manager and within the club, maybe it had shifted. I knew that time would come at some point. I didn’t think it would be now. And I had to accept that.’

Henderson has previously been a vocal supporter for LGBTQ+ rights, so his move to a country where homosexuality is criminalised has been condemned by gay-rights groups.

But Henderson insisted he had not put money over morals by joining Al Ettifaq – managed by Steven Gerrard.

‘I can understand the frustration, I can understand the anger,’ Henderson told The Athletic.

‘I get it. All I can say is that I’m sorry they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone. My intention has always been to help causes and communities where I felt like they had asked for my help.

‘My values don’t change because I’m going to a different country where the laws might be different. I see that as a positive thing. From their (Saudi) side, they knew that before signing it. So they knew my beliefs.

‘They knew what causes and campaigns I’ve done in the past and not once was it brought up. Not once have they said, ‘You can do this, you can’t do this’. And I think it can only be a positive thing to try to open up like around Qatar (at the World Cup).

‘In the end, around Qatar, having a World Cup there shone a light on certain issues where I think in the end, I might be wrong, but they changed some rules and regulations to be able to host the World Cup and I think that’s positive.

‘That’s the way you try to create positive change. And I’m not saying that I can do that. I’m one person.’

Asked whether he would consider wearing Rainbow Laces, a campaign that has taken hold in English football in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, Henderson added:

‘I wouldn’t rule that out. But at the same time, what I wouldn’t do is disrespect the religion and culture in Saudi Arabia.’



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