Gerrard: ‘Family feeling’ key to my Saudi move

Steven Gerrard said a “family feeling” at Saudi Pro League club Al Ettifaq was one of the things that persuaded him to accept a coaching job with the side.

The former England and Liverpool captain signed a three-year contract last week after previously saying he would not take up an offer to join the team.

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The 43-year-old had a change of heart and has become the latest big name to join the Saudi league.

“When I went to Saudi I got a real family feeling. It made me actually feel welcomed,” Gerrard told Al Ettifaq’s Twitter account on Sunday.

“There are three things I always consider in order — it needs to be right for my family first and foremost. We have to be excited and motivated by the challenge.

“Secondly I think the football project needs to be ambitious, it needs to be for the right reasons, and then of course you need to feel secure with the contract, but this comes at the very end.”

The move is the latest in a number of high-profile deals since Al Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo last December. Former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema joined Al Ittihad in June.

Gerrard follows in the footsteps of his former teammate Robbie Fowler, who was appointed coach of Saudi second-division team Al Qadsiah on Thursday.

Gerrard guided Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years in 2021 before leaving for Aston Villa, where he was sacked last October.

Al Ettifaq finished seventh in the top-tier Saudi Pro League last season.

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