Babel reveals Benitez gripe
Ajax ace Ryan Babel has revealed he was let down by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez - and claims the Anfield fans never saw the best of him.
The former Liverpool player arrived on Merseyside for around ?11.5million in July 2007 from Ajax, but was sold for around ?8million to Hoffenheim in January 2011 after failing to fulfill his potential.
He made 146 appearances, scoring 22 goals in his four seasons at Anfield, and is adamant he could have made a bigger impact in a league he regards to be the best in the world.
Babel, 25, told The Mirror: "I don't think people in England ever saw the best of me. For a player to really be at his best you have to give him a certain confidence, but I did not feel appreciated by some people at Liverpool.
"Ajax have given me a chance again to prove myself and I'm happy for that.
"The City game is a good platform for me to show the people who doubt Ryan Babel what I can do."
Babel, who will line-up against Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday also revealed his disappointment with Benitez for failing to help him develop.
"Rafa Benitez promised me a certain development, but very quickly he took away that promise and it was a totally different situation. I don't think I ever really played more than three games in a row.
"But I love Liverpool, I still have a house there. I love the fans and I have great memories of my time at the club. It was a very good learning process for me. Now, I am mentally stronger and I know how to deal with certain situations and different people. The people at Ajax see that.
"I have made mistakes. But, at 25, it's not too late to give my career a good twist. I still think I can fulfil my potential and live up to what people thought I would become. I still have that belief.
"Moving to Liverpool was a new world for me. I had been living with my parents in Holland and all of a sudden I was living in a foreign country on my own.
"Football players have to grow up very fast. It's a tough life sometimes. It depends on the individual, how strong they are and how they deal with certain situations.
"England is the biggest league in the world. Of course, you have Barcelona and Real Madrid but, as a league, England is in my opinion the best in the world.
"You never know what your route is going to be. I am happy at Ajax, but if you have some fantasy and imagination you like to dream of things and Liverpool still has a special place in my heart."