Jordan Henderson has spoken out for the first time since leaving Al-Ettifaq and signing for Ajax. The former Liverpool captain claims that cutting his Saudi Arabian move short was the ‘best decision for his family’, returning to Europe after less than six months in the Middle East.
Henderson’s stint at Al-Ettifaq, where he worked under fellow ex-Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, lasted all of 17 appearances. The 33-year-old was heavily criticised for moving to Saudi after being a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights in football.
This week he and Al-Ettifaq agreed to terminate his eye-watering contract, believed to be worth £700,000 a week. And Henderson was unveiled as an Ajax player on Thursday, putting pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Taking to social media shortly afterwards, Henderson first addressed the supporters he left behind, writing on X: “I’m sad to say that I will be leaving Al-Ettifaq with immediate effect.
“It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family. I want to take this opportunity to thank the club and the fans for all the support during my time. I really felt the love from day one. I’ll keep watching and hoping for your success. Good luck for the future.”
Al-Ettifaq are currently eighth in the Saudi Pro League and 28 points off the top, having scored a disappointing 22 goals in 19 games. Even so, Gerrard has been rewarded with a contract extension stretching to 2027 as the club persist with their long-term project.
“We wanted an experienced midfielder with leadership qualities,” Van ‘t Schip told Ajax’s official website. “Partially due to injuries in the team, we were looking for someone who could step in immediately. Jordan Henderson is that type of player.
“His arrival means a huge enhancement for our squad. Both on and off the pitch, a football player of this calibre is important for our many young players. He’s an English international player and has won the Champions League and many other prizes with Liverpool. I am happy he’s here, and I think it’s very good for our club that he’s an Ajacied from today onwards.”