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‘A real family feel’ – Steven Gerrard explains shock decision to manage Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League



The former Rangers and Aston Villa manager made a surprising switch to manage Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League on a two-year deal, despite previously appearing to rule out joining the club. Explaining his decision, Gerrard emphasised the importance of his family’s well-being and excitement for the challenge and also hailed their ambitious football project which is aligned with his values.

 Speaking to Al Ettifaq’s media team after joining them, Gerrard said: “I think there were a lot of reasons for me wanting to join the club. I think the club has a lot of good people who represent the club from the board down. When I went down to Saudi, I got a real family feel, they made me feel extremely welcome.

“There are three things that I always consider and they are in a particular order. It needs to be right for my family first and foremost, we have to be excited and motivated by the challenge. I think the football project needs to be ambitious, it needs to be for the right reasons in terms of the challenge and the remit. And of course, you need to feel secure, that the contract is right, but that always comes at the very end. It was a combination of reasons and I’m extremely excited and happy. I can’t wait to start and meet all the supporters and all the players. But the people I have met so far that represent Al-Ettifaq have been absolutely outstanding and I think we share a lot of things in common. The Liverpool legend has already started making moves to strengthen his squad, who finished seventh in the Saudi Pro League last season. Wilfried Zaha, available on a free transfer following the expiration of his Crystal Palace contract, is the latest name to be linked.