On sealing his £5 million move to Lazio, long-serving Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva explained his difficult decision to leave after a decade.
The 30-year-old completed his switch to Italy on Tuesday evening, bringing an end to a rollercoaster 10-year spell on Merseyside.
Battling adversity throughout his time with the Reds, from competition in the squad to a myriad of injuries, Lucas found himself knitted in to the fabric of the club.
This made his decision to leave Liverpool, both as a club and a city, a hard one to make, but Lucas believes he made the right one, as he pursues regular first-team football in Rome.
“This is one of the greatest clubs in the world and my intention had always been to spend the rest of my career here,” he wrote in an open letter to supporters.
“But the less I have been able to play, the more I have realised that I need to go to another club if I want to play as much as I possibly can.
“When you love a club and a city as much as I love Liverpool that isn’t an easy decision to come to.
“The easiest thing for me to do would be to stay here for as long as I can even if I do not expect to play so often.
“But that would go against everything that I believe in as a footballer and as a competitor.
“It is for that reason that I will be joining Lazio, which means my sadness at leaving Liverpool is accompanied by a real excitement that I will be representing one of Italy’s great clubs.”
Lucas has previously attested to his strong relationship with Jurgen Klopp, despite dropping down the pecking order following the German’s arrival.
And the Brazilian praised Klopp for his role in deciding to join Lazio, but stressed that he and his family “will always take Liverpool with us.”
“Before I made my decision to take the opportunity to go to Italy, I discussed my situation with Jurgen Klopp and the way he handled it showed once again how respectful he is to his players,” he added.
“I am grateful to him and to all of the managers I worked under at Liverpool, especially the ones who showed faith in me when it would have been easy to do the opposite.
“My priority now is to look ahead to a new chapter in my career in the belief that I can contribute to Lazio in the same way that I hope I have helped Liverpool.
“I have been blessed to live and work in this city, a place that I have come to realise is different to any other.
“And while living here I have been married and blessed with two wonderful children so whatever happens now we will always take Liverpool with us everywhere we go.”
Lucas leaves Liverpool having made 346 appearances, scoring seven goals and being named the club’s Player of the Season for 2010/11.
More importantly for the midfielder, who arrived as a young No. 10 from Gremio in 2007, is the affinity he has with the Anfield support.
“Liverpool Football Club and its supporters will always have a special place in my heart,” he wrote.
“On top of that, the personality, humour, dignity and integrity of the people of this city will also stay with me forever.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to every single Liverpool fan.
“My family and myself will always be grateful for your support and for being part of this great club, which means we will also be sad now that the time has come for me to leave.
“All I can say now is that I hope more than anything else that the new season turns out to be a great one for my new club and my old club.”
You’ll Never Walk Alone, Lucas!