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Saudi Pro League CEO Michael Emenalo has acknowledged the personal setback experienced by Jordan Henderson following his departure from Al Ettifaq. Henderson’s move from Liverpool to Saudi Arabia last summer stirred controversy, but after only six months, he opted to join Dutch powerhouse Ajax.

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In an interview with The Telegraph, Emenalo clarified that Henderson’s exit didn’t reflect negatively on life in Saudi Arabia. He revealed efforts made to convince the midfielder to stay, highlighting Henderson’s positive contributions to Ettifaq and his efforts to adapt to the country and its culture.

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Emenalo emphasized Henderson’s professionalism and his impressive career, which included captaining Liverpool and England. Despite attempts to persuade him to stay, Henderson ultimately felt his ambitions weren’t aligning with his situation in Saudi Arabia.

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Despite assurances from England manager Gareth Southgate that Henderson’s international prospects wouldn’t be affected, the midfielder grew concerned about his future with the national team. This led to his decision to leave in January and join Ajax on a free transfer.

However, injuries limited Henderson’s impact at Ajax, and he missed out on selection for England’s Euro 2024 squad. Henderson himself admitted that his move to Saudi Arabia was a “mistake,” driven by his desire to play at a higher level.

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