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Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Monday, 2 May 2011 14:11 UK

Ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia ends playing career

Sami Hyypia left Liverpool in 2009
Hyypia was given a stunning tribute when he left Liverpool in 2009

Former Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia has retired from playing football at the age of 37.

The Finnish centre-back played for the Reds for a decade after signing from Dutch club Willem II in 1999.

During his time at Anfield he was part of a team who won an historic FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup treble in 2001, and the Champions League in 2005.

"The decision to retire grew during the season," said Hyypia, who will now take up a coaching role at Leverkusen.

"I had no interest any more to go elsewhere to play.

"There are no regrets. Thanks to all those who have helped during the course of my career and to my relatives a big thank you, without family and friends it would not have been possible."

Emotional Hyypia sad to leave Liverpool

The Finn also has plans to coach his country, having played under both Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez at Liverpool during his 464 appearances at the club.

"It will be an interesting year," Hyypia added. "I must get a coaching licence and then I get the experience of Leverkusen and the national team coaching.

"I'm really happy about this. All who know me know I put myself fully into it. It is 100% or nothing."

Hyypia joined Liverpool for £2.5m and was considered to be one of the club's best signings, establishing a formidable centre-back partnership with Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz.

He captained the side for part of the 2001 season and the 2002 season before being replaced as skipper by Steven Gerrard in 2003.

During his time at Liverpool, he also won another FA Cup and League Cup as well as two European Super Cups before leaving Merseyside in 2009 and joining Bayer Leverkusen on a two-year deal.

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Hyypia bids farewell to Liverpool
23 May 09 |  Liverpool