Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Thursday February 7 2013
Liverpool FC defender Jamie Carragher has officially announced that he is to retire from football at the end of the current season...
Veteran Reds centre-back Jamie Carragher has today publically acknowledged his intention to retire from professional football at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old, who confirmed the news via the club's official website, admitted he had already made the decision privately and now wanted to make the wider public aware of his intentions to avoid further media speculation regarding the situation.
Carragher said: "This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer.
"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 [Europa League]."
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers reacted to the news by saying Carragher still had a big part to play for the remainder of the current campaign before the curtain can come down on an illustrious career.
"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," commented Rodgers to Liverpoolfc.com.
"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.
"But when the time is right we, as a team and a club, will give the man the tribute and recognition he deserves; I know the supporters will want to say thank you to someone who has served them with such distinction for so long."
The former England international has enjoyed more than two and a half decades at Liverpool, having joined the club's academy in the late 1980s. After making his first-team debut in January 1997 against Middlesbrough, Carragher has gone on to amass over 700 senior appearances, winning a host of major honours in the process.
The born and bread Scouser is second only to Ian Callaghan in the club's all-time appearance table and holds the record for most appearances in European competition.
Surprising news in some regards as Carragher has just got back into the team and still consistently produces exceptional displays when called upon. I'm sure he could easily have played on for another season or two but you have to admire his decision to quit whilst at the top, rather than continue to play a bit-part role or transfer to a smaller club. Carra will go down as a genuine legend in the club's glittering history and, although he would no doubt argue otherwise, deserves a place alongside the likes of Billy Liddell, Steve Heighway, Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush in the list of all-time Liverpool greats. Let's hope we can end the season on a high and give him some additional happy memories as way of a leaving present. "We all dream of a team of Carraghers."
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Date:Thursday February 7 2013
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