Former Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman has expressed regret over Liverpool’s failure to win the Champions League
McManaman rose through the ranks at Anfield before leaving on a free transfer to Spain in 1999. It proved to be a wise decision in terms of football, with the Scouser winning European football’s top prize twice.
However, in an interview with the We Are Liverpool podcast, Macca admitted that he would have preferred to have done it all with his childhood club.
“I remember sitting there, we’d just won the first Champions League [in 2000], and I’d been at the club for what, 10 months.” The lads were in the dressing room singing Spanish songs and lifting the president in the air, which I did, but I felt like a bit of a fraud because they were all singing Spanish songs and I just thought to myself, ‘this is just weird,'” McManaman elaborated.
“I took my phone and exited the dressing room, went down the corridor, sat on the floor, and listened to messages.” You [Robbie Fowler] sent me a lovely message about my mother and other things, and I read it. However, I was not in the dressing room.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I would have loved to have done this with Liverpool,’ because I would have been right in the middle of it all, knowing all the words and throwing myself into it.” And I was on the outskirts of all the celebrations because I didn’t understand what was going on.”
Madrid regrets Macca’s presence.
McManaman is being completely honest here. His time in Spain is usually regarded as a resounding success, but this was clearly not the case from the inside.
But the 51-year-old doesn’t talk about winning a second Champions League two years later. Perhaps he’d gotten used to the way things were done in Madrid by that point.
It would have been fantastic if he could have done it with Liverpool, but the truth is that the Reds were nowhere close at the time.
It had already been 16 years since the club had won the European Cup. It would be another five years before they shocked the continent once more. As Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool beat ol’ Big Ears in Istanbul, Macca announced his retirement at the age of thirty-three.
Some supporters were understandably upset by McManaman’s decision to leave for nothing in 1999. But in the years since, he’s proven to be just as big a Red as ever. There should be great pride in what he accomplished with Real Madrid, but nothing beats winning the biggest club trophy of all with your hometown team.