Australian football legend Harry Kewell has revealed that he spurned the advances of seven other top European clubs to join Liverpool from Leeds United.
The ex-Reds star divulged the information as he picked up the coveted Alex Tobin medal during the Australian PFA Awards Night ceremony, with Fox Sports Australia transcribing his revelatory comments in the aftermath of the black tie event.
Kewell was the subject of interest from Liverpool's Premier League rivals Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as continental clubs in AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain as he weighed up his next career move ahead of his eventual departure from Elland Road in the summer of 2003 and, after much deliberation, the now 38-year-old opted to join the club he had supported as a boy.
He said: “That whole period was exciting because you looked to have a moment in your career where everyone wants you. There’s nothing better as a footballer than when you’re wanted by clubs. When people actually genuinely want you for your skills, it’s amazing.
“I can remember sitting in a room with my agent at that time and family members and we had decisions to make about what club to go to.
“I had Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, PSG and Bayern Munich [chasing me].”
The former winger, who notched 15 goals in 135 games for Liverpool, also stated how disappointed he was not to be handed the number 10 jersey at Anfield.
He continued: “It’s interesting with the [jersey] number as well. Everyone knows I love the No.10. I always say the No.10 is the most important number in the team … It’s a number that every player looks to when the moments are tough.
“That was the only thing I couldn’t get out of Liverpool! They said I could have any number except No.10, because Michael Owen had that. So I sucked it up and went for the No.7.”
Despite spending five seasons on Merseyside following his £8.5m switch, Kewell's time at Liverpool was disrupted by poor form and a host of niggling injuries.
Despite those setbacks though, the Socceroo legend, who now coached Watford's Under-23 side, reflected positively on his time with the Reds - a spell that included winning a Champions League title, an FA Cup and a League Cup - before he left for Galatasaray in July 2008.
Kewell added: “I loved Liverpool, I loved my time there off the field, I met so many amazing people. Obviously on the field I went through a horrific stage [in my career] but that’s football and you can’t cry over spilled milk.”
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