Jordan Henderson issues apology and addresses Saudi nightmare at Ajax unveiling


England midfielder Jordan Henderson has apologised for those who were offended as a result of his controversial summer transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq, before returning to Europe six months later with Ajax. At his unveiling with the Eredivisie giants, Henderson insisted that he did not regret his short-lived stint in the Middle East.

During his time at Anfield, the former Liverpool captain was a strong ally to the LGBTQ+ community and was widely praised for his efforts. However, by moving to a country that criminalises same-sex relationships, that departure caused a stir.

At the time of his summer move, England LGBTQ group 3LIONSPRIDE issued a statement claiming that they would no longer cheer his name or use a banner with Henderson’s face.

Now that he has left Al-Ettifaq after terminating his contract, Henderson described his the transfer as a "football decision", before apologising: If I offended anybody or people felt I let them down, I apologise for that ... but my beliefs have never changed and never will. I can only apologise if people feel let down. I said six months ago that if I offended anyone or let them down, I apologise."

When asked if he had any regrets about the move, which could leave Henderson short-changed over the prospect of not being paid a penny for his time in Saudi Arabia despite being on a reported wage of £350,000-a-week, the 33-year-old was adamant that he did not.

"Looking back at the time, it was a big decision and one I felt was right for me," he said. "Things change quickly in football and I'm happy to make this decision (to come to Ajax) and I felt this opportunity too big to turn down for me.

"In life, if you wanna call them regrets or mistakes you can but they're only mistakes if you don't learn from them and I learnt a lot of things about Saudi. I haven't got a bad word to say about anyone. I have friends over there I'll speak to forever and there were still positives to come out of it. In the end it didn't turn out way we both wanted to, but it ended on great terms.


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