Liverpool club legend Jamie Carragher has announced he will end his career-long association with the club and retire from professional football at the end of the season at the age of 35.
Carragher has made over 700 senior appearances and is only second to the all-time appearance record holder Ian Callaghan, after making his debut in 1997.
His first team appearances have been limited this season, and he said: “I’m making this announcement because I don’t want the manager to be answering questions when I’ve already decided what I am going to do.”
His crowning moment as a Liverpool player came as Liverpool lifted the European Cup for the fifth time in 2005. Liverpool’s vice-captain on that historic night was labelled as a hero after countless efforts to stop then European Player of the Year Andriy Shevchenko and future World Player of the Year Kaka.
Bootle-born Carragher, who grew up as an Everton fan, was also part of the Liverpool’s 2001 treble-winning season, as well as lifting another FA Cup and two more League Cup trophies with the club.
Carragher, who is out of contract at the end of this campaign, said: “I will be fully committed between now and the end of the season to doing the very best for Liverpool Football Club, as I have done my entire career since joining aged just nine.
“It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great club for as long as I have. 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.”
Liverpool FC Managing Director Ian Ayre hinted that Carragher may well remain at the club in some capacity but would not be drawn into an early announcement.
He said: “Everyone within the game knows that Jamie has been a colossal figure for Liverpool Football Club. You don’t have a career spanning three decades at the very top of this game unless you are an exceptional player and he epitomises the values this club was built on and continues to stand for.
“In line with Jamie’s wishes we will wait until the season concludes before giving him the true recognition he deserves. We will also wait until that time to comment further regarding what involvement he may have with the club going forward.”
Additional reporting by Joshua Killner