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Gini Wijnaldum wants to retire in the Netherlands – but not for almost a decade

Gini Wijnaldum believes he can play at the top level for another eight seasons, but the Liverpool midfielder is hoping to retire in his native Netherlands.

There are still question marks over the future of Wijnaldum on Merseyside, with his contract currently set to expire at the end of next season.

His stance so far appears to be non-committal, with the 29-year-old explaining last month that “it’s difficult to say,” as “it depends on what the club wants” and “how the situation is at that time.”

The sticking point is expected to be the length of any extension, rather than wages, and the hope is that Wijnaldum ultimately signs a new deal with the Reds.

If length is the issue, Wijnaldum is certainly confident he won’t be on the decline any time soon, telling RTV Rijnmond: “I want to play at a high level until I am 38.”

“You want to play at the highest level and win trophies, like Clarence Seedorf,” he said.

“My dream is to stay fit as long as I can, just like him, Zlatan or Ronaldo.”

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 26, 2019: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (L) celebrates scoring the only goal of the game with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Given his remarkable fitness and the lack of any major injury issues, there is no indication Wijnaldum could not enjoy a career like James Milner, for example, who recently pledged his future to Liverpool until he is 36.

Like Milner, who has previously expressed a desire to return to Leeds at the end of his career if the circumstances are right, Wijnaldum is aiming to retire closer to home.

“I sometimes look at Sparta [Rotterdam] and then I think: ‘Well, it would be nice if I played there in my last years’,” he said of his boyhood club.

“In the Netherlands I played at three clubs and I had a very good feeling about all three. But you can only choose one. I see myself returning to Feyenoord, PSV or Sparta.”

Sparta are currently 11th in the Eredivisie, having gained promotion from the second tier last season, while Feyenoord are third and PSV Eindhoven are fourth.

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Georginio Wijnaldum after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by Peter Makadi/Propaganda)

None are regularly competing for honours in Europe, which is likely a big factor for Wijnaldum as he sets his sights on sustained success in his prime—that, as it stands, he can enjoy at Liverpool.

The likes of Dirk Kuyt and Robin van Persie have ended their careers back at Feyenoord in recent years, and it is likely they would welcome Wijnaldum back if he wishes to do the same.

But at this stage he is far too important to the Reds, and a new long-term contract should be a priority for the club.