Pepe Reina clarifies his words over Liverpool exit - insisting he is 'very grateful' to club

Reina joined Napoli on-loan and expressed his disappointment over how the move transpired but he has admitted he is not angry with Liverpool

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The Independent Football

Pepe Reina has insisted he is not angry with Liverpool after he was loaned out to Napoli, despite writing an open letter confirming his disappointment at the manner in which the deal happened.

Reina released an open letter to fans of the club on his official website on Monday, expressing his regret that he had been sent on-loan to the Italian’s without being consulted about the deal.

Liverpool signed Simon Mignolet from Sunderland for £9m, with the Belgian goalkeeper expected to be the Red's new number one which would have left Reina with a place on the bench.

But in an interview with Italian radio show El Larguero, he spoke to clarify his words an express his gratitude to the club he spent eight season with.

"I'm not angry with Liverpool - quite the opposite. I am very grateful to them for everything they have given me," he said.

"My departure was different to what I expected, but I will always be grateful to them.

"This is the nature of football - when you are loved by a team, you really feel it, but when you go through bad moments, you are treated differently. In the end I will remember the love I felt from the fans for so many years.

"My time in England is where I have felt truly like a footballer and I have put my name among the best players. I'm very proud to have played almost 400 games with Liverpool.

"I'll remember the friends I made in and outside the dressing room. Trophies stay in the cabinet gathering dust, but friends are for life."

Reina described how the deal went forward, claiming that Liverpool agreed the move to Naples before telling the goalkeeper, but he admitted he didn’t turn down the loan move due to the impact that working with Rafa Benitez once again would have.

"The signing wasn't sealed, because you can't do that without the consent of the player, but it was at an advanced stage and I didn't know about it," he said.

"Rafael Benitez is the best coach I have had. I don't know if I'd have joined Napoli without him being there. There are many positive things about the city of Napoli and they have a fervent support, like Liverpool's, but Benitez being there made it much easier for me to sign."

Napoli are an emerging force on the European stage having finished second in Seria A last season, and despite selling striker Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain for £55m, they have raided Real Madrid to bring in Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon.

30-year-old Reina won the 2006 FA Cup and 2012 League Cup with Liverpool, but is now looking forward to challenging for league titles and battling with Europe's elite.

"We are building a great squad and we hope to be able to compete at the highest level," he said. "I also want to fight to win Serie A and return to the Champions League. You miss these things and this year I'm going to experience them again."