Liverpool lost a key midfielder recently when Gini Wijnaldum joined Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain on a three-year deal. It was the end of five seasons at Liverpool, and now the Dutchman is finally speaking out about what played a role in his decision to move on from the club. He said, via Liverpool Echo:
"There was a moment when I didn't feel loved at Liverpool. In the last two seasons, I had it a few times. The media didn't help. There was a story like I didn't accept the [Liverpool] offer because I wanted more money, and the fans made it like 'OK, he didn't get the offer so he doesn't try his best to win games.' Everything looked like it was against me. Some moments it was like, 'Wow, me again?'
"The Liverpool fans in the stadium and the fans in social media were two different things. In the stadium, I can say nothing bad about them. They always supported me. On social media if we lost I was the one who got the blame — [claiming] that I wanted to leave. There was a moment when I was like, 'Wow, if they only knew what I was doing to stay fit and play every game."
Unfortunately, it's not necessarily surprising that Wijnaldum, who is Black, received hate via social media. England's Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who also are Black, were subject to racial abuse and harassment online after the nation's loss to Italy at the Euro 2020 tournament.
Still, Wijnaldum will undoubtedly be missed in Liverpool. The 30-year-old was instrumental in the club's Premier League title during the 2019-20 season and their Champions League triumph in 2019.
Wijnaldum tallied 16 goals and 10 assists across five seasons with Liverpool.