Sunday started very early in Dublin. Me and my wife took the 07.50 flight from Dublin to Liverpool. Having been so excited I didn’t get much sleep. I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. How often do you get invited to play with world class players? Supporting a great cause? At a complete sell-out Anfield? With the best supporters in the world? I think you all might understand why I didn’t sleep much.
As we came to the airport I remembered how big Liverpool are in Ireland, especially Dublin! The airport was full of supporters and they were of course taking the same flight. I was happily taking pictures with whoever asked, this was a day to give back. As we had row 1 on the plane, I couldn’t really hide either;) My wife fell asleep during the short flight while I had a nice lady who talked non stop the whole flight next to me. She was a mad Liverpool fan so I hoped she had a good trip. As we landed at Liverpool airport the stewardess asked me if I could say a few words over the speaker, which i happily did for the fans. The respons was great so i took that as a good sign and that the supporters had a great start of their journey to Anfield.
We arrived Hilton Hotel and it was such a great pleasure to meet the boys again. Some of them I haven’t seen for so many years. We had pre match meal together and it was all laughs. Also great to see so many players flying from everywhere to support this Charity match. Like Brendan Rogers said: » No Charity match gets even close to this field. World class players from all over Europe» I have to agree. I can only speak for myself, but coming from Norway and being invited to play in this match with these players is something you can only dream about. I felt honoured and privileged to do so. I do have to say that it gives me a great pleasure being invited and a great confidence boost as it proves that I have done some great things in my career and that I for sure did something right. If not I wouldn’t have been invited.
Leaving the hotel for the stadium gave me flashback to my time here. I started getting nervous but mostly excited. Playing in front of a packed Anfield again, wow!!! So many fans were already there when we arrived with the bus, and I felt at home again. Amazing! Got the right dressing room as well, 7 years later. Even got my number 6. In the dressing room it was a great feeling and great feel of respect and friendship between the players. Everybody was chatting and laughing with each other. I must say that it couldn’t have been easy for some players coming to Anfield and play for Liverpool while they play for other clubs. But i knew before the game that all the players would be cheered for by you amazing fans. I sat next to Glen Johnsen. What a great guy! Never really talked to him before, only played against him and respected him for the type of player he is. Thierry Henry and John Terry were close to us and we had a great laugh. I played with Thierry when I came to Monaco in 1998. He had just won the World Cup. John Terry is a player I have always respected. He is a 100% fighter. Had the chance to get to know him and he is a very very nice guy. Always smiling and joking around. I know some people might not like him, but don’t judge people before you meet them and get to know them. I have no problem saying John Terry is an amazing defender and a great guy. Loved it when some fans booed him before you all laughed and then clapped for him. Well done.
Running out for warm up was a feeling I will never ever forget! The cheer, the noise, the love we all got was just insane!! I got goosebumps and I’m sure many others did as well. As the game started i knew I was playing only 45 min. And I’m not sure it took 1 min before my song started singing around the stadium. 1 min! How is that possible? I left 7 years ago and it still is a popular song? I was amazed and felt very emotional. You guys gave me goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I don’t have words on how much it meant to me. I gave my best for 7 years and I try to communicate with all fans as much as I can, but this was almost unreal. The game was enjoyable and I must admit I really wanted to score that free kick. I tried to smash it like we all know I always try to do:) To bad it was straight at Pepe.
Leaving for Hilton we all changed and had a great dinner and party after. This gave us all a chance to show our support for the Charity we all came for. You could tell all the boys really enjoyed this occasion to catch up. I was so happy to see Gerrard, Reina, Carragher, Garcia, Alonso, Kuyt, Kewell and many more. This was a day and night I will take with me and never forget. It was also a great chance for me to show my wife how my life was at Liverpool and how great the club is. She met all my friends from back then and I was proud, really proud. This day couldn’t have been better. We left the hotel 1.30am with a private driver. Our flight left London Heathrow for Larnaca at 0710!!!! So you can all say we were tired when arriving Cyprus and I had to go training. I also wanna give a big thank you to my club APOEL for giving me the chance to go to Liverpool. We have 7 games left and fighting for the Championship and the Cup so I thank you.
After the game we walked around the pitch to thank all the supporters for coming. As you all know I never got to say goodbye and thank you when i left. This was my chance to do so. One last walk around the pitch to thank you for the 7 years we had together. From the bottom of my heart I Thank You all for the support, the love, and the kind words you gave me during these 7 years. Without all of you I would have never ever been the player I was at Liverpool or the player I became when moving to Rome. I will love LFC and all the supporters my whole life, you gave me everything that I needed for me to give my best for you. You should know I gave my best for you every game. 100% was all I cared about and the only thing you deserve. We won almost everything together, and no matter what happens in life, remember this: Not one person can take away the trophies we won together or the memories we made together. 25/5/2005 will remain in history as the best final ever! Until I see you all 25/5 this year for the 10th anniversary of the miracle in Istanbul, I will keep communicating through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. My tattoo will also be finished by then, can’t wait to show you. You will always have a special place in my heart.
Lots of love from your one and only Ginger.