Former Liverpool man Ryan Babel has fired a warning to contract rebel Gini Wijnaldum, after the forward revealed that leaving the Reds was his ‘biggest regret’.
The 34-year-old – who currently plays his trade for Turkish Super Lig side Galatasary – spent three-and-a-half-years at Anfield, before leaving in January 2011 to join Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
While Babel never truly managed to earn a regular starting berth with the Reds, he clearly has fond memories of his time at Anfield and looked to offer some advice to fellow Dutchman Wijnaldum.
The former Newcastle United and PSV man has been an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side over the past few seasons and has helped the club to Premier League and Champions League glory, the midfielder memorably netting twice against Barcelona to take the Reds into the final of the latter competition.
Despite continuing to be a vital asset to the Reds squad, the 30-year-old faces an uncertain future at the club, with just six months left on his current contract after failing, as yet, to sign a new deal.
It’s been a year with mixed emotions. It hasn’t turned out as anyone expected but there have been some moments that I will cherish forever ❤️ Let’s try to end this year on a positive note, what’s your best memory of 2020? 🙏🏾 #HappyNewYear2021 pic.twitter.com/tNVGkaJTd0
— Gini Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) December 31, 2020
The player is now open to sign a pre-contract agreement with club’s around Europe, yet despite potential interest from La Liga giants Barcelona, Babel has warned his compatriot not to be too hasty in making the decision to leave.
“I spent almost four years at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish,” he told the Mirror. “When I left to go and play in Germany, where TSG Hoffenheim had become a big force, it was to become the biggest regret of my career.
“The only reason I left was because I wanted to have more playing minutes to keep my place in the Holland team, but you don’t realise how dominating the playing style is at Liverpool until you play in a different team and league.
“I was brought up with really attacking football at Ajax. In the academy, you learn to play that way. When I moved to Liverpool, it was exactly the same. It is in the DNA of the club to play attacking football.”
While Wijnaldum has the option of moving to one of Europe’s elite clubs for perhaps the last time in his career, Babel insisted that not many clubs come as big as Liverpool.
“I loved every minute I was at Liverpool. Fortunately, Dirk Kuyt was at Liverpool and he was a massive support to me. As a Liverpool player, you are always in the spotlight. The club is massive.
“Scoring the winning goal against Manchester United at Anfield was the highlight of my time.”