Remember Ryan Babel? The Dutch striker spent four seasons at Liverpool after Rafa Benitez signed him in 2007. It wasn’t the dream Anfield career that Babel might have hoped for but he did manage to score 12 goals before moving on to become a journeyman footballer.
Babel is currently in his third stint at AFC Ajax, on loan from Galatasaray, where he ended up after leaving Fulham in 2019. Before that he played a couple seasons for Besiktas, after spending various lengths of time at Deportivo la Coruna in Spain, Al Ain in the UAE, Kasimpasa in Turkey, Ajax for the second time and 1899 Hoffenheim, his destination following his Liverpool departure. He’s been all over.
At 33-years-old, Babel is still putting in time with the Dutch national team and has the opportunity to train alongside Gini Wijnaldum and Virgil Van Dijk during international breaks. Babel recently jumped at the chance to praise his compatriots.
Wijnaldum, in particular, has struck a chord with Babel due to our no. 5’s tenacity in some of Liverpool’s biggest matches. He recently spoke to the club’s official site about what makes Gini amazing.
“I have no words for Gini’s performances and quality,” said Babel. “He’s an incredible person.
”His energy is incredible, he has lungs for days. You can tell when he has the confidence, he’s really unbeatable and very hard to play against.
”He’s very complete – he can score goals, he can tackle, can defend, recover balls. Gini’s development is also incredible.
”Gini is definitely a person who is not shy to give his opinion. He has very strong opinions and is very much loved in the team process. Especially in the national team, he’s definitely one of the leaders and very important for us.”
Gini began at Melwood with his Liverpool suitability under suspicion due to his previous leg at Newcastle United but that’s all ancient history now. Wijnaldum has become a big player for Jürgen Klopp and at 29-years-old is at the peak of his physical powers. He’ll be the new James Milner once the old James Milner finally and unfortunately wears out.
Also, Wijnaldum has scored 13 goals for the Reds from his midfield position, sorry Ryan.