James Lawton: Welcome to the world of Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina - where loyalty is fine as long as it works for you

Liverpool suspect you are no longer worth £110,000 a week on the bench

Let's get this straight, Pepe. If Barcelona had confirmed the rumour of their interest so hungrily seized upon by you and your agent you would have beaten your pal Luis Suarez out of Anfield faster than Speedy Gonzales.

However, the rumour was false, just another little mutation of the truth on the football grapevine, so now you are indignant that Liverpool are shipping you out to Napoli and your favourite manager Rafa Benitez on no better grounds than their suspicion that you are no longer worth £110,000 a week sitting on the bench. You have to understand we have taken most of the foregoing as read from the plaintive words of your own website.

The trouble is, hombre, there is only so much of this self-serving, platitudinous, ersatz soul-baring that can be absorbed in any one football silly season.

Everyone, and surely not least the Liverpool fans who have been put so extensively through the emotional wringer by Suarez, now knows the score.

Loyalty is fine as long as it works for you. Then, when it is no longer the underpinning of your well-upholstered hero's existence, it can go the way of Suarez's contract, which of course has three years to run. It can be booted out of play.

This was Reina's take on the Suarez situation when he was apparently being driven from Liverpool – and England! – by the relentless machinations of the media: "Because of his situation and because of his treatment by the media, it would have been very difficult for any player, not just Luis, to stay strong and be happy to stay.

"I would like for Luis to stay at Liverpool but I understand if he is leaving for a bigger club. When I say bigger I don't mean as a club, I mean challenging for titles, playing in the Champions League and competing with the best. Hopefully, he will stay at Liverpool for many years but I would understand if the best offer comes, for him and the club, for him to go."

Translation: there is only one meaningful relationship in football and it has nothing to with old-fashioned notions like the repaying of debts and the reward of trust.

What counts, and this alone, is whether you are either worth the current price of your hire or if there is someone out there ready to hike it up another whole stratum above the dreams of those who ultimately pay the bills, the people who go on the terraces and invest in TV boxes and like to believe that they are part of the whole enriching experience.

Pepe Reina has, no doubt, been a fine goalkeeper for Liverpool but he has not, demonstrably, been himself over the last season or so. He no longer commands the respect of a man on top of his game, hence manager Brendan Rodgers' £9m investment in Sunderland's flying Belgian Simon Mignolet.

The core of Reina's website outpouring reminds us vividly once more of the perspective of an ageing pro who, with the best of his game clearly gone, is still costing his club more than £4m a year.

Reina: "I thought I deserved better even though I understand difficult decisions have to be taken in football. A lot has been made about me informing the club that if an offer came in from Barcelona I would have liked them to consider it.

"But I have also spoken to the club about extending my contract if the offer was not made. I told the manager that Barcelona would only be an option for me if the opportunity arrived, like the rumours said it would, as it would be a chance for me to go home. When it didn't I was happy to fight for my place so I was surprised Liverpool decided it was in the club's interests to send me to Napoli instead."

Translation: I had a best-case scenario, a glorious return to Spain and the great Barça, another workable one of stretching out my contract at Anfield, which is of course the moon and the stars of football, at least this side of the Nou Camp, and then there was this third one which Liverpool happened to select.

It was to send him to Napoli without the chance of an emotional parting from Anfield and the fans who have celebrated him for so long.

Hard though it may seem, there is a certain difficulty in accepting Reina's thesis that he had deserved a lot better than this. Ever since he arrived at Anfield eight years ago, Reina has been warmly appreciated and paid extremely handsomely. He is a professional in a world where mere sentiment was burnt off some time ago. At some point, somewhere the fantasy life has to end. That in Reina's case this might be Napoli is maybe not the most pressing reason for tears.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable