By Kevin Koczwara
Pepe Reina spent eight seasons as Liverpool’s No.1 goalkeeper before being sent out on loan this past season to Napoli to make way for Simon Mignolet — who was bought from Sunderland during the 2013 summer transfer period — but the Spanish goalkeeper won’t be making a heroic return to Anfield next season reports the Liverpool Echo.
Reina made 106 saves for Rafa Benitez’s Napoli side and kept nine clean sheets in 30 Serie A games, but rumors linking the former Villareal goalkeeper back to Italy have not resulted in a permanent switch yet. Most rumors have Reina moving back to his native Spain with either Barcelona or Atleico Madrid as likely destinations. None of this has worried Reina, though. He is happy to wait until after the World Cup in Brazil to sort out his future.
“Right now I am just thinking about the national team,” Reina said. “With regards to a new club, first I’ll have to talk with Liverpool.”
Reina acknowledged that Barcelona has brought in 22-year-old German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to replace the departing Victor Valdes and that Atletico Madrid is waiting to hear from Chelsea about the availability of Thibaut Courtois, who has been with the club on loan for the past two seasons.
Reina made his professional debut for Barcelona as an 18-year-old and it has long been rumored he’d return to the club his father played for, but a move last summer never materialized after swirling rumors. Liverpool’s transfer committee didn’t wait for an approach for Reina from Barcelona before snapping up Mignolet, so as to not have to scramble later in the summer for a new No.1 goalkeeper. Reina was subsequently sent out on loan by manager Brendan Rodgers to Napoli, where former Reds boss Rafa Benitez had been appointed manager. Benitez had previously brought Reina to Liverpool in 2005 from Villareal.