Babel: Van Basten warned me of joining Liverpool

Babel told the Sunday Mirror: “Van Basten spoke to us before the European Under-21 Championship this summer and he told us maybe it would be best for us all to stay in Holland if we wanted to go to be in the senior squad next summer.

“It was his idea that we would be better off playing first-team football at home rather than take the chance of signing for a foreign club and spending too much time on the bench.

“But if I am honest, his words did not even enter my mind when Liverpool said they wanted to sign me.

“I spoke to Rafa Benitez to hear his plans and I have enough confidence in my own ability to believe I will play enough games for Liverpool to convince Van Basten I should go to the tournament.

“I don’t see this move to Liverpool as a risk. Perhaps time will prove me wrong. Maybe people will look back in 12 months’ time and say I was stupid to join Liverpool because I didn’t go to the European Championship.

“But at this moment, I have confidence in my ability to believe I will be going.

“I am still young, and maybe people see me as a player Liverpool have signed for the future. I can understand that, but I am also here to make an impact now.”

He added: “When I spoke with Rafa Benitez he told me how he works, and he said it was his intention to give me games straight away.

“Sure, he knows I will have to settle in at a new club, but he told me that I am part of his plans for the coming season as well as the future.

“I have a good relationship with Van Basten and he knows what I can do on the field.

“I listen to his advice, of course, but I also have to make the decisions I feel are right for me, and once Liverpool said they wanted to sign me, I had to come.”