Finland and Bayer 04 Leverkusen centre-back Sami Hyypiä has announced his intention to retire from playing professional football at the end of season.
Hyypiä, who amassed 105 caps for his country and played close to 900 matches for Kuusankosken Kumu and Myllykosken Pallo-47 in his native Finland, Willem II in the Eredivisie, Liverpool FC and Leverkusen, will remain in football, however, staying on in a coaching role at the Bundesliga club.
"The decision grew gradually during this season," explained the 37-year-old defender. "There are still two games left to play with Leverkusen and then that will be it. A career has to end some time and now felt like a good time," added Hyypiä, who will also join the Finland national team's coaching set-up under head coach Mixu Paatelainen. After a year's apprenticeship with Leverkusen, he will become the Bundesliga outfit's assistant coach in July 2012.
Renowned for his committed defending and aerial prowess, Hyypiä won numerous honours during his career, including winners' medals in the 2005 UEFA Champions League, the 2001 UEFA Cup and the 2001 and 2006 FA Cups during his ten-year stay at Liverpool.
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