Ander Herrera: The farewell interview
Ander Herrera is leaving United this summer. In our interview, he thanks the fans and reflects on five years as a Red...
Ander, firstly we know you have a message for the fans… "Yes… this is a sad moment to be honest because I’ve enjoyed the last five years at this club so much, but I’m here to announce that I’m moving and I will not be a Manchester United player next season. Of course I have a message for the fans because they have been incredible with me. I have so much to thank all of them for – they have given me so much love and support. As I said before, this is not an easy day or an easy decision but sometimes in life you have to take decisions. Sometimes the timing is just not right and you have to move on. I don’t want to be sad, I want to thank all the fans for all they have done for me in the last five years. I have enjoyed so much playing for this club, I have felt so privileged to represent this club every time I have done it. Of course the most important thing is the football side [of things] and I have enjoyed every time I have worn the United shirt on the pitch representing the club, but also outside the pitch. I have felt part of this club when I have travelled all around the world and been recognised as a Manchester United player. And when you’re a Manchester United player you will forever be a Manchester United player. It’s something special. I owe the fans a lot. When you leave such a big club you lose much more than what they are losing. I cannot lie – I wasn’t born a Manchester United fan, but I want everyone to know that a part of my heart will always be a red devil. I want to say thank you to everyone and I hope the supporters have all appreciated that I have always tried to represent every single Manchester United fan in the best way, on the pitch and off it; I have tried to involve myself in the community as well and to be at the level that Manchester United deserve. I hope when I come back to see the club and to see the city I will still have the fans’ love and support." You have been here for five years, how do you look back on your time overall? "In a very positive way. When you play almost 200 matches for this club there is no other way to look back. I have some memories in my mind that I cannot forget. Of course the trophies we have won together like the European trophy we won in Stockholm [in 2017] – that was special. The FA Cup win against [Crystal] Palace [in 2016], the League Cup as well [in 2017] because it’s an important trophy, and the Community Shield against Leicester [in 2016]. But overall I will never forget the way I have been treated by the fans. When I have been playing, they have always shown me that I was important to them. I have said a lot of times you have to give everything when you represent this club and you try to put all our effort in and when you do that the fans will love you and I have felt that. Of course you have good and bad moments, you have wins and losses, but I leave feeling very, very proud and very calm with myself because I have done everything and I think the fans know that." Are there any stand-out matches you think of from your time here? "There are a few. But if I had to choose one or two then I’d pick the Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm. That victory gave us three trophies for the season and it was a European trophy which is never easy to win. And it got us back into the Champions League as well so it was a very important trophy. I can’t forget as well the victories at Anfield, I know they are not trophies but they are trophies [in a different way] for the fans [smiles]. The atmosphere the fans create every time we play at Anfield , seeing that corner full of United fans… I wasn’t able to score in that match and celebrate with them but that is something I always dreamed of." You have made many friends here, will you keep in contact with them? "Of course. I’ve always said that this club is special. I have experienced things in this club that I haven’t felt before or seen in other clubs. All the people that work here and are part of the history here make the club different. I don’t want to compare with other places, all I can say is it’s different and special. As I told you before when you are a Manchester United player it means you are a Manchester United player for the rest of your life. Of course I will keep in contact with the friends I have made here. I also have a lot to thank all the managers I’ve had here for, every single person of the [coaching] staff too, they have improved me and made me a better person and a better player. I will never forget my Spanish friends of course, I cannot forget also some of the players I have played with and that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life and all of you guys as well. The thing that makes me feel the proudest person in the world is that I have the affection of every single Manchester United fan." You’ll have the chance to say goodbye to the fans on Sunday at Old Trafford, will it be an emotional day for you? "Yes of course. It’s going to be tough because I know I’m not going to keep playing for this club and for the fans. All that I lived with them and the connection I have had with them though is special and I will never forget it. Every time I hear my name chanted it has been amazing, at Old Trafford and also away because we have amazing away fans. The only thing that I can say again is I leave very proud and I leave very calm with myself because I have tried and given everything for the club and for the fans."