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Babel out to prove his worth to English fans in Ajax-City clash

The Ajax player also blamed former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez for going against his word and stymieing his development while at Anfield.

Ryan Babel is keen to send out a message on Wednesday when his current club Ajax faces Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.

The former Liverpool player was purchased by the Reds for more than 11 million pounds in July, 2007, but was sold in January, 2011, to Hoffenheim. The forward is keen to show English fans why Liverpool was right to invest that money him five years ago, while placing some of the blame for his struggles in England on former Reds manager Rafa Benitez.

“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," Babel told The Mirror. “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."

Specifically talking about Benitez, Babel revealed his disappointment with the former Reds boss, claiming that he failed to aid his progress by breaking his word.

“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.”

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