Skip to main content

Ryan Babel criticises former Liverpool managers who treated him "like a ghost"

Ryan Babel

Babel arrived at Anfield as a talked-up 20-year-old after breaking through in the Eredivisie as a teenager and impressing over three seasons with Ajax.

He ended up spending three-and-a-half seasons on Merseyside, scoring 22 goals in 146 appearances before being sold to Hoffenheim in January 2011. 

But in a revealing interview with The Times, Babel says he did not get the backing he needed from his managers as a young player. 

The Dutchman was signed by Rafa Benitez and later played under Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish too, but the 32-year-old had few kind words for any of his former Reds gaffers. 

“Nobody spoke to me,” Babel said. “I felt like a ghost, they walked through me like I didn’t exist, it was very tough.

“When I came to Liverpool I quickly found out it was about winning and not so much about how you were winning.

“At Ajax it is almost more important how you play rather than winning. You needed to win but the emphasis was on how you won.

“I remember with the Ajax first team winning games 2-0, and at the end of the match the whole crowd were whistling at us.”

Babel also admitted that he has no regrets about his Anfield days, however, and said that playing with the likes of Steven Gerrard was an eye-opener. 

“I thought ‘f***ing hell’,” he recalled of his industrious ex-colleague. 

“I learned a lot from the likes of Steven Gerrard and we had a lot of mature guys, like Sami Hyypia, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres.

“I learned it’s easier to play against a top side. As a winger against a lesser side you have less space so how, as a winger, are you going to make a good game if constantly against three men?”

Babel will hope to line up for Fulham against Liverpool when the two sides face off in the Premier League on Sunday.