The Club Brugge goalkeeper walked back into Melwood for a whole lot of hugs and deeply-felt handshakes.
He came from Sunderland and a lot of people hated him from the moment he signed for Liverpool but Simon Mignolet could only do his best and that’s exactly what he did for eight years on Merseyside. Mignolet has a great reputation for being a hard-working player and when he’s in good form the Belgian is an incredible shot stopper. He’s also into pears.
Since his move to Club Brugge, Mignolet has wanted to return to Melwood to say his goodbyes to some old friends and co-workers. He recently got that chance and along the way was prompted to expound on his Liverpool career and his reasons for making the special trip back to his old stomping grounds.
“I spent six years here,” said Mignolet. “So, not only on the pitch but also off the pitch, you learn to know people, not only footballers and colleagues but also the people behind it. So it’s always nice to see them back in a more relaxed way than after the final when stuff is going on and everybody has to do their jobs.
“Today is a bit more relaxed, training is a bit later, and to say a proper goodbye is always nice. I spent six years here, the people know me and I know them so I think it’s only fair to say goodbye before I go back to Belgium today.”
When Alisson was signed last summer Mignolet’s fate as Liverpool’s ousted number one goalkeeper was written. Klopp needed Simon to stick around though and support the team and so he did.
Now, Mignolet finally has the number one spot he’s been longing for at Brugge. It was always about football, the player explains. He was overjoyed to help Liverpool win the Champions League trophy, but he needs that football feeling again. And Club Brugge is offering it up in spades. Mignolet is already helping the Belgian club advance into the Champions League group stage.
“Well over the last few years now I always thought and said that I want to be playing again, that I want to be back on the pitch,” said Mignolet.
“They (Brugge) were the team that wanted me the most, that pushed the most to come and get me. Like yesterday, I played the game and although it was a European first leg, so you can’t really say it’s already won, I was on the pitch and kept a clean sheet.
“We won 1-0 and the feeling afterwards, that’s what I wanted again. That’s why we are football players, to have that feeling again, to be not only important in the dressing room and being professional and pushing the lads on – I wanted to be important again on the pitch and that’s the opportunity I’ve got now, and that’s why I grasped it with my two hands.”
Wish this guy all the best at Club Brugge and beyond and cast your vote for Mignolet to be named Belgium’s number one over Thibaut Courtois, who deserves nothing.