If you told me six years ago that a relegated Newcastle player would go on to become a Liverpool icon, and make no mistake about it, he very much is, then I would have laughed in your face. Yet here Gini Wijnaldum is: A Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and Premier League winner with his very own Anfield chant.
And too right as well. If anyone deserved his name to be sung in the Kop, it is the Dutchman. With every crucial goal, ‘Der Der Der Der Der Der Gini Wijnaldum’ echoed around Anfield.
He was never know for being a goalscoring midfielder- instead doing the dirty work, something we all appreciated as he went under the radar. But, believe me, when we needed a goal, he was the player to step up.
Whether it was against Middlesbrough, Roma, Manchester City or THAT night against Barcelona, where there was a big occasion, there was a Gini Wijnaldum goal. When the big sides came knocking, Jurgen Simply polished his magical lamp to summon our Gini.
He has his critics, yes, bizarrely so, but nobody can argue the legacy he has left behind. Without him, without Mr reliable, do we have the privilege to call ourselves Premier League and six time Champions League winners?
The limelight didn’t always glisten on Gini; he was never the main protagonist. Instead, he was more like a backstage production worker who kept things ticking over and took centre stage when emergency struck. And every successful team needs that player, that goes without saying.
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Sir Alex Ferguson’s player was Ji-Sung Park. Jurgen Klopp’s was Gini Wijnaldum. Some will dispute his legacy but, eventually, they’ll appreciate him. After all, you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Whether it’s his reliability to always remain fit, big game goals or his unmatched ability to shield the ball, he’ll be missed.
I, myself, would personally love to see him go into the Guiness World Record Books for the strongest arse. I’m pretty sure he could protect the ball against an incoming Tesco lorry. Bin off the avengers, they should have handed Gini the Infinity Stones to protect! There’d be no need for a second film then.
In a way, this is more of a thank you to Gini Wijnaldum. A thank you for all the memories that I believed were impossible for far too long. But even when 3-0 down against Barcelona, he and the rest of Liverpool still believed.
Fuelled by anger of a half on the bench, the Dutchman grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to take Liverpool level in the space of the ten minutes on the pitch. One corner taken quickly soon led to a Madrid final.
We’ll never forget the goals, but who can forget when he was surrounded by two Barcelona midfielders before spinning them all back to Spain!?
The point is, yes, he may be leaving, but he deserves to be remembered with fondness. After all, he was there when everyone at Anfield, arm in arm, belted out quite possibly the best rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone Anfield has ever heard.
So thank you for everything Gini. You’ll Never Walk Alone.By Tom Cunningham – @TomCunningham75
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