Reina to return to Liverpool in May, confirm Napoli
Napoli have confirmed that the loan move of Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina will not be made permanent, according to the Daily Express, with the Spain international set to return to the Premier League at the end of the season.
Reina moved to Serie A this summer, linking up with former Reds boss Rafael Benitez after current Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers signed Sunderland stopper Simon Mignolet. Rather than have the two compete to be first choice, Rodgers allowed Reina to make a temporary move and, despite the former Villarreal custodian impressing in Naples, the switch is unlikely to be full-time.
“Keep Reina? At the end of this year he will return to Liverpool,” Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon told Tutto Mercato Web. “In life you can look again at everything, but to date Reina is a Liverpool player,” Bigon added. “It is too early to talk about it, at the moment we have only taken him on loan.”
Bigon also revealed the process that led Napoli to target Reina, with the appointment of Benitez and the departure of Morgan De Sanctis to Roma playing a leading role. “When De Sanctis raised the idea of joining another club we tried Rafael as a first choice goalkeeper; the Brazilian will be the future of the club. Reina, we chose him because Benitez knew him well.”
Reina has made almost 400 appearances for Liverpool since moving to Merseyside in 2005, having previously featured on over 100 occasions for Villarreal. The 31-year-old began his career at Barcelona after coming through the club’s academy, playing 49 times for the Catalans.
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