Despite being 38-years-old, Pepe Reina is enduring a successful first season with Lazio, as he overtook the starting goalkeeper job from Thomas Strakosha.
One of the first questions that the Italian media outlet asked Reina is to sum up his life story. The goalkeeper mentions how his love for football began and what he plans to do in the future once he retires.
Football has been my passion since I was a child. There was a freedom that is not there today; we left the house and returned for dinner. The rules in my house have always been respected. I had a lot of fun with my brothers until I moved for football; I was just 13 years old. I have always been privileged, first of all, for the family I had. I broke away from them to grow as a footballer, and it was worth it in the end.
My wife is a little more strict; I’m the ‘soft’ one. We have always said the same thing to our children. Report cards interest us to a certain extent; professors have to talk about my children as good people. The idea is to return to Spain, to live in Madrid where we have a house, a project, a vision of life. I want to be a coach.
Villarreal was the first club in which Reina saw significant action as he made 147 appearances for the Spanish side. The Lazio goalkeeper spoke about his time with El Submarino Amarillo.
It was a wonderful time. I felt in a humble locker room, made up of people with many values. It was a moment of growth; Villarreal is a club I care a lot about; it was an honor to defend that shirt. It allowed me to then go into elite football.
There was lightheartedness. We competed for different goals than those of the great teams, those fighting for the title. We did something incredible by finishing third. Even today, I speak with many teammates of that era; they have become coaches, I can’t wait to meet them again.
From Villarreal, Reina began his tenure abroad, heading to Liverpool FC and spending close to a decade with the English club. The Spain international touched on the nine years spent with The Reds.
It was an important change; we played to win all the games. Leaving Spain and arriving in a gray country, where it often rains. I have been eight years, and now I consider it my home. Liverpool had always shown me respect, both when things were going well and when things were not going well. There have been some bad situations; people were always there.
Four hundred games with that shirt, I had the absolute privilege of being able to play at Anfield every fortnight, to hear “You’ll never walk alone.” I am a football romantic; these are things I really care about; I look back and tell myself ‘how lucky I was to have lived through all those challenges with the Liverpool shirt.
Many thought when Lazio brought Reina, it was to be the backup, but the veteran goalkeeper has taken the job and isn’t letting go of the position. Reina spoke about his first year in Rome with Lazio.
It was an important moment; I arrived in a great team fighting for the top of the table. At my age, continuing to hold up at that level was a satisfaction. Today I can say that it was an incredible challenge; I am very happy.
I was bought to make Tommy (Strakosha) grow and to help out the entire locker room, even off the pitch. To put my adventures at their disposal, things went differently than in the beginning. They are players who are open to growing, to be advised, and this is important.