Carragher to retire at season's end

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher will retire from football at the end of this season, the English Premier League club said in a statement on Thursday.

"This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer," said Carragher.

"I'm making this announcement now because I don't want the manager (Brendan Rodgers) or the club to be answering questions on my future when I've already decided what I am going to do."

The 35-year-old former England international -- a one-club man -- joined home-town side Liverpool as a youth player and has since made over 700 senior appearances following his debut in 1997.

Carragher, second behind only Ian Callaghan in Liverpool's all-time appearances list, has won several major honours in his career, including the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and two FA Cups.

He confirmed on Thursday his intention to continue playing for the remainder of the campaign, but added that he would be making no further statement about his future between now and the end of the season.

"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," he said.

"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 (the Europa League) we are competing in."

Carragher's friend and former Liverpool team-mate Michael Owen predicted that the centre-back still had a future in the game.

"What a servant Carra has been for Liverpool," Owen wrote on Twitter.

"A rare breed and it's been a privilege to play alongside, room with and be big mates with one of football's real men. I doubt we have heard the last of him. He has too much to offer the game to be away for long!"

Another former Anfield colleague, Robbie Fowler, tweeted: "Sorry to hear the news on carra, his quotes regarding retirement tell you everything about the man... An absolute legend of a player."

Born in Bootle, Merseyside, Carragher signed his first professional contract with Liverpool in 1996.

He represented England at under-20, under-21 and senior level, earning 38 full caps.

Having retired from international football in 2007, he returned to play under Fabio Capello at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, before retiring definitively after the tournament.

His finest achievements at Liverpool were the 2001 treble of the League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, and the 2005 Champions League success, which saw the club claim their fifth European Cup.

Carragher also received praise from Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who partnered the Liverpool man in central defence for England.

"Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to Lfc," Ferdinand wrote on Twitter. "Great player&a top fella! Funny guy! Nutter when we were kids but management material now."

Former England striker Gary Lineker, now a television pundit, tweeted: "Jamie Carragher will hang up his boots at the end of the season. Those boots were worn by a player respected by everyone in the game."

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