Steven Gerrard candidly speaks out over Saudi move with blunt six-word 'money' message

Steven Gerrard has dismissed claims he moved to Saudi Arabia for the money (Image: Getty)

Steven Gerrard has emphatically denied being motivated purely by money when he moved to Saudi Arabia last summer. The Liverpool icon was one of many high-profile stars lured to the Middle East by the Saudi Pro League a year ago.

An accusation levelled at those individuals is that they were tempted to move to a league relatively low in profile due to the huge sums of money being offered. However, Gerrard – who manages Al-Ettifaq – has hit back at that theory, saying: “One million per cent, no.”

“I was financially secure a long time ago,” Gerrard told the Daily Telegraph. “So, I would not come to Saudi for money. Was it part of it? Yes. Was it the only thing that made me do it? One million per cent, no.”

Al-Ettifaq are not one of the four teams who were brought under the majority ownership of the Saudi Public Investment Fund last year. However, there is little information regarding owner Nawaf A Alosaimi.

While not backed by PIF, Al-Ettifaq were still able to spend big and signed Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Dembele, among others. Henderson infamously left in January to join Ajax.

Despite adding those players to his squad, Gerrard’s side finished sixth in the Saudi Pro League and earned only half the points tally of champions Al-Hilal with a total of 48. Despite a wobble in form prior to Christmas, Gerrard was handed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2027.

The 43-year-old was sacked from his previous job at Aston Villa but claims his decision to move to Saudi Arabia was not aimed at rebuilding a career that had found itself at a crossroads.

He continued: “I respect that opinion. I don’t think it’s unfair. I don’t think it’s too harsh because when you suffer a set-back and a knock you have got to look yourself in the mirror. You’ve got to have a look at where you have gone wrong and try and improve.

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Steven Gerrard had a tricky first season in the Saudi Pro League (Image: Getty)

“So, of course I want to bounce back from that. But I didn’t want to jump into something that didn’t feel right and take an unnecessary risk when I am a young coach.

“I’ve had success up to a certain point. I actually felt my own performance at Villa was really good. I actually felt I went to the next level in terms of what I had learnt from Rangers. I felt like I had grown.

“But we had a bad run of results. I have to own that and take full responsibility for that. I have to learn from my mistakes. Maybe do things slightly differently and grow and evolve. That’s the only way you can move on from a set-back or a knock.”