May 25, 2024

Roberto Firmino’s statement to the supporters, his reason for leaving Liverpool, and his possible comeback.

 

 

Roberto Firmino, whose bright white smile has come to symbolise his skill as a football player, is utterly certain of what will transpire on Saturday when Liverpool’s season-ending home match against Aston Villa comes to an end.

“After the game, I will cry 100%,” he declares. “Today is a unique day for me. My family and I will experience emotional turmoil.”

Along with him will be his teammates and a raucous Anfield crowd in honour of an undeniable Liverpool icon who has perhaps come to embody the winning period under Jurgen Klopp.

 

Firmino is one of four Liverpool players whose contracts expire in the summer: the other three are James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita. However, there’s little doubt that the Brazilian, who has been a fan favourite since joining from Hoffenheim eight years ago, will receive the most love from the supporters.

 

This was made clear during Monday’s Premier League victory over Leicester City when Firmino, a non-playing member of the travelling party, was heckled for a large portion of the second half with his signature “Si Senor” song. Following the game, he received a standing ovation from both the away end and his teammates.

 

 

The 31-year-old admits, “I was surprised because the game was away.” “They were aware that I sat behind the bench rather than on it. Despite my intense emotions, I was overjoyed. I want to thank each and every one of them for their love, support, and affection because I truly enjoyed it.

 

I’m not sure when I heard the song for the first time, but I was thrilled to learn that the fans had written a song just for me because it has a lot of symbolic meaning. It indicates that they adore me, and every time I heard my song, it gave me the confidence and drive to put in more effort, support the team more, and do my absolute best.

 

When was the last time I sang ‘Si Senor’? A fortnight ago! Along with my family, I sang it in the car. My kids asked me to play the song so we could sing along. I haven’t played that song on the piano yet. Hard work! But I’ll get better.”

 

Firmino will be available for his final Anfield farewell after missing the previous six games due to a muscle injury. “If I’m not 100% I would play anyway!” he jokes, capping off an incredible Liverpool career. In December 2019, he scored the game-winning goal against Flamengo to make the Reds the world champions for the first time in Qatar. He has made 360 appearances and scored 109 goals. He has also won the FA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League.

But which was most significant? “The Champions League trophy,” Firmino utters. “It’s tough to play against a lot of tough teams in Europe, so winning this was very nice. It’s special for the club and for me to have this.

 

Firmino has a lot of strong points. His favourite goal of the season is still the late winner against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in September 2018. Of his 72 assists, his most treasured one was the backheel flick that set up Mohamed Salah against Newcastle United a year later. He scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 victory over Arsenal in December 2018, which is probably his favourite game.

Yet when he signed in the latter part of the Brendan Rodgers era, such longevity and success seemed unattainable. “In the first week I was here, even I didn’t know where I would be playing,” Firmino relates. “I can perform anywhere. However, Brendan Rodgers and I were unable to communicate about where I was on the pitch.

 

“We established a position known as the false nine when the current manager joined. I simply enjoyed the job after that. Prior to now, I was ranked number 10 during my entire career. After that, I moved here and developed into a striker, a nine. Thank God, I did my best, and it turned out really well. I claim we made it together, but he would insist I did! Me

 

Firmino ultimately formed one of the most devastating attacking triumvirates of his generation alongside Salah and Sadio Mane. But the Brazilian believes there was no great secret to why it worked so well.

 

“Because of training every day alongside each other,” he says. “We knew each other. In the game it would work because of that. But to play alongside these two guys, top players, it was an honour and a pleasure for me. I enjoyed it a lot playing alongside them both, and the results we earned together.

 

“Sometimes I enjoy more the assists than actually scoring a goal myself. It’s important for me. I enjoy assisting my team-mates and of course helping them with goals too.”

 

A rare interview with a small group of journalists took place inside the AXA Training Centre on Friday afternoon. Firmino, who responds to practically all questions in English, fully accepts that he is considered a Liverpool legend, saying, “I’m okay with that!” and gives an explanation of his enduringly positive outlook.

 

He claims, “I was always like this.” “I am constantly content. I’m always grinning. Inside, I am happy, even when I’m angry or depressed. I sincerely say that. This is from God. I always make an effort to be cheerful and smile in whatever I do and in any situation I find myself in.

 

Firmino was aware of the risks of staying past his welcome, even though Liverpool was eager for him to sign a new contract. In fact, since the World Cup, he has only started one game, as Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, and Luis Diaz, members of the new attacking generation, have pushed him further down the ladder.

 

“Unfortunately, it’s time.” he remarks. “This cycle has ended, and I know it’s time to move on. I’m not sure if I’ll return, but now is the right moment. Return as a coach? Perhaps! Never say never, do you? I have no idea what the future holds for me. It could just be for fun; you never know.”

 

It will be challenging for Liverpool to leave, though. What do I most likely miss? All of it, says Firmino. “My teammates, the team, and the fans—especially the fans—I adore them because they have been such a huge support system for me during my eight years here. I am incredibly proud of everything I have accomplished here with the team, our shared accomplishments, and the lovely history we have created.

“We have a wonderful legacy to leave. God has my sincere gratitude for all of that. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I’m incredibly grateful for everything the club did for my family and me.

 

However, he wishes to be remembered by Liverpool supporters in what way? “Hard,” responds the Brazilian, pausing for a long time to think over his response before responding. “My heart and my generosity.”

 

Gentlemen and ladies, this is Roberto Firmino. He is unlike any player in Liverpool’s history.

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