Pepe Reina has written an emotional and heartfelt letter to Liverpool fans upon his departure from the club.
Reina joined The Reds in 2005, establishing himself as one of the top goalkeepers in Europe and clocking up almost 400 appearances in all competitions.
Reina wrote on his official website:
It is a strange feeling for me to think that next season I will not be a Liverpool player. For the past eight years, that is all I have known. The club, the staff, the city, the people and the supporters have played a massive part in my life. Liverpool is special in a way that only those who are lucky enough to experience the club close up can understand. It has given me memories that will live with me forever and friendships that will last just as long.
The Spaniard reserved special praise for the club’s supporters:
But more than anything else, it has given me an understanding of what it is like to play for the most wonderful English club. I may not have won as many trophies and medals as I would have liked since joining in 2005 but the experiences I have been a part of are as important as any silverware. I now understand how supporters can lift a team and inspire them to do special things. I appreciate that there is something unique about Anfield and the atmosphere it creates. I believe that anything is possible no matter what the situation is because at Liverpool there is no such thing as a lost cause. And I have been humbled by the fight for justice for the 96 which showed me that the Liverpool people will always fight for what they believe in.
Discussing what would be his favourite moment at Liverpool, typically he chose something different to what you’d expect:
If I had to pick one it wouldn’t be a save or winning a trophy. It would be my celebration against Manchester United when David Ngog scored a late goal. That is probably the quickest I have ever run in my life! It shows what playing for Liverpool meant to me and also that there was nothing better than winning a big game at Anfield. I used to look at the Kop when we scored those kind of goals in big games and I would be jealous of the supporters going crazy. If the closest I will get to that is running the length of the pitch and jumping on my team mates backs then that will do for me.
He revealed that the decision to leave was not his:
Although it was not my decision to leave I will accept it just like I have always accepted any decision that Liverpool have taken for me. They signed me, picked me, gave me some of the best experiences of my life and looked after me. If they feel that the best thing for me and for them is for me to go on loan to Napoli for a season then so be it
Reina signed off his letter with a call to supporters to continue to inspire the players:
All I would ask now is that you keep on inspiring the manager and the players just like you always have done and help Liverpool to become the club that you deserve once again. I would like nothing better than to come back at the end of my year away and for Liverpool to be back where they belong.
I would have liked to have been able to say goodbye in a different way but because of the way the move came about this was not possible. Maybe in the near future I can do it properly so that I can show my appreciation to you.
Reina leaves with a number of records to his name; most clean sheets in first 50 league games, in first 100 league games, in first 200 league games most in first 250 league games, 3 Golden Gloves, 11 successive clean sheets, most European games (84) by a LFC keeper.
Reina kept a clean sheet in 44.92% of all his games. Only Ray Clemence of the keepers that had 40 or more shut outs had a better ratio.
Thanks for the memories, Pepe.