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Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers defends Jordan Henderson’s Saudi transfer

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has defended Jordan Henderson’s decision to join Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq

The move garnered criticism earlier this week, with questions raised about the motivation behind the transfer.

Henderson faced scrutiny for leaving Liverpool for the Middle East despite claiming his decision was not driven by finances. 

This declaration prompted intense discussions, especially given Henderson’s previous vocal advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s strict laws criminalising homosexuality.

Homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

However, Rodgers, who had a close working relationship with Henderson during their time together at Anfield, sternly rebuked those passing judgment on the midfielder’s career choices. 

Rodgers spoke passionately on the issue during an interview with talkSPORT. He emphasised the need to respect players’ autonomy over their careers.

“It’s their profession – it’s their life, so they have to do what’s best for them,” Rodgers said.

“He was at the stage of his career where he probably wasn’t going to be the first name on the team sheet anymore. 

“At 33 years of age, he’s won absolutely everything. He probably fancied a different challenge.”

Henderson’s departure marked the end of a remarkable 12-year stint with Liverpool, during which he captained the team to eight trophies. 

However, some fans expressed disappointment, contending that his legacy was tarnished by the move to Saudi Arabia.

Henderson vehemently denied the speculation that he was lured by a massive weekly salary at Al-Ettifaq, stating that he struggled with the idea his choice was solely financially motivated.

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