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Jordan Henderson admits he made huge Saudi 'mistake' in brutally honest interview

Jordan Henderson admits he made huge Saudi 'mistake' in brutally honest interview

The midfielder left Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq after just six months.

Jordan Henderson has opened up on his controversial five-month spell in Saudi Arabia.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who joined Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq last summer in a deal worth £12m plus add-ons, penned a three-year deal worth £350,000-per-week at the Dammam-based club.

It was seen as a major coup for the Middle East club but Henderson ended up making just 19 first-team appearances before agreeing to terminate his contract with immediate effect.

Taking to Instagram after his exit was confirmed, he said: "I’m sad to say that I will be leaving Al Ettifaq with immediate effect. It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the club and the fans for all the support during my time. I really felt the love from day one. I’ll keep watching and hoping for your success. Good luck for the future."

Henderson has since been coy about his time in Saudi but in a recent interview with Dutch publication Het Parool, the England international admitted that he made a "mistake".

"During those five months in Saudi Arabia I learned a lot about myself. What are my motivations? Why do I actually play football? Football is something that is in my blood," he said.

"I now know. The competition in Saudi Arabia is developing and will become bigger, but it doesn't suit me at the moment. I made a mistake."

Henderson also said that people "don't know the whole story" when it comes to his time in Saudi and only he knows that.

Having previously been a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Liverpool, he was criticised upon his move to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking in an interview with The Athletic, he was "really hurt" by the criticism, adding his intention has always been to "help causes and communities".

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

After a disappointing five-month spell in the Middle East, the former England captain would pen a two-and-a-half-year deal with Eredivisie side Ajax.

Henderson will come up against Premier League side Aston Villa in the second leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 clash.

"I live for European evenings like against Aston Villa," he added ahead of Thursday's clash. "When people whistle at me, it gives me extra motivation.

"Proving critics wrong is a common thread in my career that does not wear out over the years. It's my way of expressing emotions. A passion that belongs to me."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Jordan Henderson, Saudi Arabia, Ajax, Premier League, Europa Conference League