It might be about time for Pepe Reina and everybody connected to Pepe Reina to stop talking. At least when it comes to his footballing future, as after leaving Liverpool in what seemed a clean, necessary break for all parties, Reina can't seem to stop talking about his old club. It's an approach that some Liverpool supporters have quickly begun to tire of, and a new set of revelations from the goalkeeper's father that make it clear Reina lied to fans will likely push everyone else into that camp.
A month ago, Pepe Reina was insisting rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona last summer were nothing but the delusions of rumour mongers desperate to fill column inches and drive traffic. It was all, he claimed, "an invention of newspapers." Further, Reina insisted he didn't care about such paper talk, despite that he was busy talking about that paper talk two months into his Napoli loan spell and with next summer's transfer window still most of a year off.
At least twice since he left Liverpool to reunite with Rafa Benitez on loan in Serie A, Reina has wrung his hands about how surprised he was when Liverpool looked to ship him off over the summer. His loan move in particular "did come as a surprise," the goalkeeper claiming "nobody told me anything" until Napoli rang him up to let him know he'd been sent to Italy. He has also complained that Liverpool's signing of Simon Mignolet earlier in the summer had come as a complete surprise.
In all of this, Reina cast himself as the victim. In his world, suggestions he was planning a move away from the club before last season ended were patently false and Liverpool went behind his back, surprising him by signing a new goalkeeper when he expected to stay at Anfield. Then, having signed a new goalkeeper, the club kept him in the dark while they attempted to get rid of him. Reina's spin, though, does become problematic if everybody finds out, say, that all the Barcelona paper talk he's denounced was entirely true.
"A few months ago Pepe was in negotiations with Barcelona," Miguel Reina, the goalkeeper's father, admitted over the weekend when Marca asked about last summer's rumours of a possible return to Catalonia, where at the time many expected Victor Valdes heading to Monaco and Reina was seen as the safe short-term option to replace him. "He had reached an agreement and planned to leave [Liverpool]."
Pepe Reina's time at Anfield had likely come to an end one way or another, but this new information confirming he was in talks with Barcelona and planned to leave if given the opportunity to return a the club whose system he came up through leave a sour taste after he previously insisted his departure was due to Liverpool's machinations. Reina wanted to go home and Liverpool wanted to move on, and most would have been happy enough to hear that from the goalkeeper.
Instead, because Valdes stuck around to run down his Barcelona contract and things didn't quite work out as Reina had hoped, fans have had to listen to him act as though he'd been unceremoniously booted out of Anfield despite his having been planning a way out all along. That won't sit right for many, and it shouldn't. Nothing can undermine what he did for Liverpool while at the club, but the method of a player's leaving can certainly add an asterisk, and Reina's has one now.
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