Football: The hardest decision of my life; STEVE McMANAMAN TALKS EXCLUSIVELY TO ABOUT HIS MOVE TO SPAIN.
STEVE McMANAMAN Steven "Steve" McManaman (born 11 February, 1972, in Liverpool, England) is an English former footballer of the 1990s and early 2000s, who played as a midfielder in a career spanning two of European Football's biggest club football sides in Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid. spoke of the torment at leaving his beloved Liverpool last night as he agreed a staggering pounds 15million deal with Real Madrid.
The Liverpool star's advisers shook hands on a five-year contract in Spain last night that will make him the richest export in British soccer history.
The England midfielder - who will pocket nearly pounds 58,000-a-week - admitted: "It's been the hardest decision I've ever made to leave Liverpool, and it makes me very, very sad.
"I think people have realised that it has taken me so long to decide my future because I found it so hard to leave the club and the magnificent fans. But I have always said that I wanted to move abroad to test myself on the very highest stage, and I don't think I can turn down the opportunity now."
While McManaman's advisers were thrashing out the finer points of his contract, the Bootle-born star - 27 next month - was back in England in a Coventry hotel preparing for Liverpool's Premiership game today.
But he is likely to meet Madrid officials tomorrow to sign a "pre-contract", subject to a medical, which will commit him to joining when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
McManaman will continue to play for Liverpool until the end of the season and will not join Real until his Anfield contract expires on July 1.
Madrid will have to honour the contract agreed - even if he gets injured playing for Liverpool.
But the Spanish club are prepared to gamble in order to prevent their bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona and top Italian clubs like Juventus and Inter Milan from snapping him up.
McManaman added: "I am the right age to move, and this is a fantastic prospect for me. Real Madrid are the European and World champions - they are a magnificent club.
"The package they have offered me is a fabulous one, and I feel very honoured that they wanted me so much. In the end, I think the time is right for me to move. I have given everything to Liverpool over the 12 years that I have been there."
He is the first high-profile British player to be allowed a free transfer under the Bosman ruling In football (soccer), the Bosman ruling is a 1995 European Court of Justice decision that allows professional football players in the European Union (EU) to move freely to another club at the end of their term of contract with their present team. .
His adviser, ex Spice Girls The Spice Girls are an English all-female pop group, formed in London in 1994. The Spice Girls, consisting of: Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, and Victoria Beckham signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single, "Wannabe", in 1996. manager Simon Fuller Simon Fuller (born May 17 1960 in Hastings, England) is one of the the most powerful men in entertainment in the world. He is a British entrepreneur and creator of the Idol series, first seen as Pop Idol in the UK and over 100 other versions including American Idol, , has secured an astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. deal that will net him a basic wage of at least pounds 3m-a-year.
But Madrid are happy to pay that huge salary because they believe they have saved at least pounds 13m on a transfer fee.
Liverpool will not receive any money because of the Bosman ruling which allows players nearing the end of their contracts to negotiate with interested clubs from January 1.
Real president Lorenzo Sanz Lorenzo Sanz Mancebo (born April 19, 1943 in Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish business man, a former president of Real Madrid and now owner of Málaga CF, where his son Fernando (a former player with Real Madrid and Málaga) is the club's president. has targeted McManaman for more than a season, seeing him as the cornerstone of a revamped side at the Bernabeu, alongside stars like Redondo, Hierro, Suker, Panucci and Seedorf.
McManaman was also prompted into moving by the fact he has slipped out of the England reckoning.
He played just 18 minutes during the World Cup finals, and he knows that he must start winning trophies in Europe to impress Glenn Hoddle Glenn Hoddle (born October 27, 1957 in Hayes, London) is a football manager and former player for Tottenham Hotspur and England. He has had spells as manager of Swindon Town, Chelsea, England, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and most recently Wolverhampton Wanderers. .
McManaman agonised Adj. 1. agonised - expressing pain or agony; "agonized screams"
painful - causing physical or psychological pain; "worked with painful slowness" long and hard over a move and only put off a decision until now because he found it hard to turn his back on the club which he has served since he was 15.
He had the chance to join Juventus before Christmas, but could not make the decision to leave Liverpool in the lurch when they were struggling so badly. But after 12 years at Anfield, he has decided that he must prove himself at the very top, citing Zinedine Zidane “Zidane” redirects here. For other uses, see Zidane (disambiguation).
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (IPA: [ˌzineˈdin jaziːd ziˈdan]; born 23 June 1972), popularly nicknamed Zizou as a top player who wanted to test himself on a big stage.
A switch to Spain, though, will mean he will get more freedom than in Italy's Serie A This article is about the Italian football league. For other uses, see Serie A (disambiguation).
Serie A (officially known as the Serie A TIM .
And he said: "There has been some criticism of me for looking abroad, but I hope the fans can see that I am only looking to improve myself. Players like Zidane, Bergkamp, Kluivert and Karembeu all moved to Spain or Italy because they felt they would test themselves at the very top.
"It has happened at Liverpool before, with the likes of Kevin Keegan Joseph Kevin Keegan, OBE (born February 14, 1951 in Armthorpe, Doncaster, England) is a former English football manager and is regarded as one of the all-time greatest British football players. , Graeme Souness Graeme James Souness (IPA: ['suːnəs]) (born 6 May, 1953 in Edinburgh) is a Scottish former professional football player and manager. and Ian Rush This article or section is written like a personal reflection or and may require .
Please [ improve this article] by rewriting this article or section in an . all moving abroad.
"Gerard Houllier has been magnificent to me, and he has left the door open at any time for me to come back, which is a great gesture."
McManaman, though, is genuinely upset at having to leave his home town behind, especially after close pal Robbie Fowler Robert Bernard 'Robbie' Fowler, (born 9 April 1975 in Liverpool) is an English footballer who currently plays for Championship side Cardiff City.
Fowler's career began with Liverpool,with whom he made his debut in 1993. signed a new deal with Liverpool only last week, that will keep him at Anfield until 2003.
Fowler admitted that he was saddened by the impending im·pend
intr.v. im·pend·ed, im·pend·ing, im·pends
1. To be about to occur: Her retirement is impending.
2. departure of his team-mate.
The pair have come up through the ranks together and roomed together for both club and country.
Fowler admitted: "It will be a sad day when he goes but then you have to respect Steve's decision. Of course we would all like him to stay because he is such a wonderful player, but he's been at this club for 12 years and only he can say if it is the right time to leave.
"All the lads wish him well, and we're sure that he will make a big impact in Spain when he does go there next season because he proved at Liverpool what a good player he is and he is only going to get better."
Houllier was philosophical about McManaman's decision to sign a "pre- contract" with Real, and his attitude clearly suggests that he is hoping the player will return to Anfield after his spell in Spain.
The French coach understood the player's decision to go abroad and said: "How can I say anything else when I have come abroad myself to further my own football career.
"I respect his decision and he will leave here with my good will. I understand why he is leaving and I will do my best to make sure that all the Liverpool supporters understand as well."
Goalkeeper David James David James may refer to:
MACCA FACT FILE
1972: Born Bootle, February 11
1989: Taken on as a trainee by Liverpool from school (left).
1990: Signs professional forms at Anfield.
1990: Makes league debut in the 1990/91 season, coming on as a substitute for Peter Beardsley Peter Andrew Beardsley MBE (born January 18, 1961, Newcastle upon Tyne) is a renowned English former footballer of the 1980s and 1990s, who once set a record transfer fee in the game and represented his country 59 times, on one occasion as captain. in the 2-0 December home win over Sheffield United.
1991: Makes second Liverpool appearance, again as substitute, on the final day of the season as Liverpool finish runners-up behind Arsenal.
1991: Full debut for Liverpool against Oldham on opening day of the season in a 2-1 home win. Scores first goal for Liverpool in next game, a 2-1 defeat at Maine Road Maine Road was a large football stadium in Moss Side, Manchester, England. It was home to Manchester City F.C. from its construction in 1923 until 2003.
When first opened, the stadium was the largest club ground in England, and the second largest in the country after against Manchester City.
1992: Wins an FA Cup winners' medal as Liverpool defeat Sunderland 2- 0 at Wembley.
1994: Makes international debut for England against Nigeria in November.
1995: Scores both goals and named man of the match as Liverpool beat First Division Bolton 2-1 in the League Cup final (right).
1996: Beaten FA Cup finalist as Liverpool lose 1-0 to Double-winners Manchester United. Named in the 22-man England squad for Euro 96 by England coach Terry Venables. England knocked out in the semi-finals by Germany after a penalty shoot-out.
1998: Named in World Cup squad for France 98 but a plays a minor role.