After serving faithfully at Liverpool Football Club for six seasons, center back Dejan Lovren has completed a move out of Merseyside to play for Russian Premier League champion Zenit St. Petersburg. The Reds are set to receive just under 11 million pounds (14 million dollars) for the 31-year-old and will move forward without their long-time teammate.
Lovren took to Instagram earlier on Monday to bid farewell to the club he’s helped grow into an English and European giant once again. In his lengthy statement, the Croatian giant thanked his teammates throughout the years, manager Jürgen Klopp, the training staff and other “staff behind the scenes”, and the fans for making his time at Liverpool special.
He concluded by writing “I will miss the spirit of the club, the city, the people. I will see you around my friends, and I wish you all the best. YNWA.”
Lovren first made the move to Anfield back before the start of the 2014-15 season as one of Brendan Rodgers’ final signings before getting the axe a few months later. Along with guys like Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, Lovren was one of the few guys who was able to stay with the club after Jürgen Klopp got the job and started to mix things up. Although much of his presence at the club diminished in the years to come, thanks to nagging injuries and subsequent transfers for Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk as well as the rise of Joe Gomez, Lovren was unquestionably a leader off the pitch and a friend to many in the club house.
That’s not to say that the self proclaimed “best center-back in the world” lacked for moments while in the red shirt. Easily his most legendary moment came during Liverpool’s immaculate comeback against Borussia Dortmund during a 2015-16 Europa League quarterfinal match. With Liverpool in desperate need of a goal, Dean Lovren connected with a James Milner cross and headed in one of the most legendary goals in Liverpool’s recent history. That goal alone made Lovren a club legend, something that coach Klopp noted this weekend.
Klopp paid tribute to Lovren on Monday by calling the Croatian a “Liverpool legend” who was “absolutely a very, very important part of this team from the first day since I was in.” He added “He is a model athlete, has everything you need and now he goes to Russia, but he can come back always – he will be always welcome because he is a really nice guy.”
Another Red who echoed the same sentiment was Liverpool talisman winger and best friend to Dejan, Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian superstar remarked that “So, thank you for everything you did for the club, thank you for everything you did for me. I wish you all the best in the future and I wish you to have a great career as well, enjoying the new club with your family.”
Lovren is now the second longtime Red to leave the club after the end of the season. Adam Lallana has not yet signed with a club, but has already bid farewell to Liverpool after his own six-year tenure.
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Featured Image Credit – AP Photo/Jon Super