Bayer 04 Leverkusen goalkeeper Andrés Palop has announced he is to retire at the end of the season.
An unused member of Spain's UEFA EURO 2008 winning squad, the 40-year-old will be best remembered by Sevilla FC fans for his heroics in the Andalusian team's 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup successes. Prior to his eight seasons at Sevilla – where he played 217 Liga games and also enjoyed UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey successes – Palop played for his native Valencia CF and also represented Villarreal CF. "After 19 years living and enjoying my time as a professional football player the time has come to hang up my gloves, which I will do at the end of the current campaign," the keeper said in a statement.
Palop was in the shadow of Santiago Cañizares during much of his time at Valencia, and was on the bench when they lost the 2001 UEFA Champions League final to FC Bayern München on penalties. Moving to Sevilla four years later, he became the team's first-choice goalkeeper and lifted the UEFA Cup in his first season at the club after a 4-0 final victory against Middlesbrough FC.
UEFA Super Cup glory followed at the start of the following campaign while he would once again win the UEFA Cup after starring in a penalty shoot-out success against RCD Espanyol in the 2007 showpiece in Glasgow. It was during that run that Palop scored a crucial goal against FC Shakhtar Donetsk to take Sevilla through to the quarter-finals.
"Football has given me so much: a lifestyle, an education, friendships and moments that I never thought I would experience," the 2010 Copa del Rey winner told UEFA.com in 2012. "I also won a lot of trophies which I value so much. I would like to be remembered as a player who lived through important eras both at Valencia and Sevilla. If my name comes up as people remember the achievements of those teams, it will be very flattering for me."
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