Thursday, February 07, 2013


Bowing out: Liverpool's Jamie Carragher will hang up his boots at the end of the season
Former England defender Jamie Carragher will bring the curtain down on his illustrious Liverpool career after revealing on Thursday he will retire from football at the end of this season.

Carragher, who has made 723 appearances for Liverpool since making his debut in January 1997, issued a statement today on his club’s official website in a bid to end speculation about his future plans.

He has five months remaining on his contract and his recent performances away against Arsenal and Manchester City have prompted discussions about whether he should be given a new one-year deal.

But the 35-year-old believes the time is right to end his playing career and he will be leaving Anfield for good – no talks have taken place about him joining Liverpool’s coaching staff and none are planned.

In a statement Carragher told 'This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer.

Kiss catch: Carragher with his great pal Steven Gerrard both plant smackers on the European Cup after Liverpool's thrilling 2005 Champions League triumph over AC Milan
'I'm making this announcement now because I don't want the manager or the club to be answering questions on my future when I've already decided what I am going to do.

'I will be fully committed between now and the end of the season to doing the very best for Liverpool Football Club, as I've done my entire career since joining aged just nine years old.

'It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great club for as long as I have and I am immensely proud to have done so and thankful for all the support I have had. There are many memories I want to share and people to thank, but now is not the time for that.

'I won't be making any further comment on this decision until the end of the season; all our focus and concentration should be on achieving the best possible finish in the league this season and trying to win the last remaining trophy we are competing in.'

Roy Evans launched Carragher’s career when he used him as a substitute during a League Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough 16 years ago and, in the time since, he has won every major honour bar the Barclays Premier League and now sits second in the club’s all-time appearance list, behind Ian Callaghan.

Though Carragher has played 24 times this season for Brendan Rodgers, only four of those games have been from the start in the Premier League and he explained recently that making that adjustment has been difficult.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side face West Brom at home on Monday, said: 'Jamie has been absolutely outstanding for me since I joined the club. He has been a model professional on and off the pitch and has shown an unswerving commitment to our work.

Taking them all on: Carragher attempts to get the better of half the Manchester City team during last week's 2-2 draw
'We still have a lot to play for as we look to finish as high up the Barclays Premier League as possible and continue our progression in the Europa League, a competition we'd like to win.

'He will have a significant role to play for us between now and May and I know his commitment and dedication on the pitch will remain as it has done his entire career at Liverpool.

'Jamie's focus is always on doing what is best for the team and he has said he doesn't want any distractions while there are still important matches to be played and won.

Liverpool managing director also heaped praise on the 2005 European champion, adding: 'It speaks volumes about Jamie's selfless nature that even the manner of this announcement is putting the team and the club before himself. It's what he's done throughout his entire career.

'He told me he didn't want the manager or myself fending off questions regarding his future when he had already made his decision. Jamie's focus, like ours, is on finishing the season as strongly as possible.

Former team-mate of Carragher and pundit Jamie Redknapp, described the Liverpool defender as an 'icon of the Premier League'.

'People always talk about you being a long time retired, but Jamie must know it's the right time to do it for his family and we have to respect that,' Redknapp said.

'Jamie's been thinking about this for a while now and his career and when is the right time to decide. The career that he's had, he's an absolute icon of the Premier League and for Liverpool and they are going to miss him.

'Only Jamie knows his body. He's the only person who knows what it's like day-in, day-out, how he recovers after a game. He'll be looking at it and think the right time is the end of the season and then he will look at his options.

'Maybe management, in the media - when he did the World Cup coverage he was exceptional. He's a real student of the game and watches every single football match on television so that's something he might want to do. He has many, many options.

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