Latest reports in Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo have claimed that Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Manuel “Pepe” Reina, who is on loan at SSC Napoli has said that he would welcome a return to FC Barcelona in coming summer.
Reina has been strongly linked with a move to Catalan giants at the end of this campaign recently in many European newspapers to replace the outgoing Victor Valdes.
Valdes, the current number one at Camp Nou; announced in May that he would leave Blaugrana at the end of this season. And the son of famed Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina, Pepe who started his career at La Masia before moving to Villareal and Liverpool, would jump at the opportunity to return to his old club.
Pepe signed for Villareal in 2002 and soon moved on to Merseyside ,where Reina was an ever-present fixture for Liverpool in the league since the start. He also went on to win both the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield.
In 2007, he played in the UEFA Champions League finals with LFC, matching the feat achieved by his father in 1974, but his side lost to Italian giants AC Milan. With more than 200 appearances in just five seasons, he is also the record holder for appearances by a Spanish player in the EPL.
Pepe is well known for his ability to save penalties and distribution. Reina has set a number of goalkeeping records for LFC and won the Premier League Golden Glove for in his first three seasons at the club. He also became the first keeper to save the Mario Balotelli penalty recently.
31 year old Reina is aware of the fact that Barca will have many targets and has set his sights on helping Napoli first. He told El Mundo Deportivo: “I would love to return to Barcelona. To play for Barca is a privilege. But I imagine that my name is on the list with others. Barcelona is a top club and Victor Valdes’ departure will have alerted other candidates so a return will be very difficult.”
Reina admitted, though, that he cannot quite comprehend why his Spanish team mate Victor Valdes wants to leave Barca. “It’s difficult to understand what his motives are but you have to respect them, he can never be accused of a lack of professionalism at any time. He has given everything for Barca, he was won everything and – why not say it – has been the best goalkeeper in the history of Barca.”
“If he ends up leaving, people should be grateful for what Victor has given to the club.”
“Right now, I’m not thinking about it. I was fortunate to play for them and I consider myself privileged to have done that. The important thing is that I continue to do well at Napoli.” Pepe Reina concluded.
As rightly mentioned by Pepe, Barcelona have set their sight on other goal keepers as well with Borussia Monchengladnach’s young keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen also on their radar.