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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Ferrer set to retire
Albert Ferrer
Ferrer is a fans' favourite at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea defender Albert Ferrer has revealed he will retire from the game when his contract expires this summer.

Ferrer, 32, has spent five years at Chelsea and was a mainstay of the defence under Gianluca Vialli.

But he has become a peripheral figure amid injury problems since Claudio Ranieri took charge more than two years ago.

Ferrer's contract will not be renewed and the former Spanish international right-back is close to calling it a day on his career.

"I'm going back home to Barcelona. My idea now is probably to stop football, but you never know," said Ferrer.

"If something comes up, I might think about it but some rest is now in my mind.

When you've been left out of the team for two years, it's hard to carry on
Albert Ferrer
Chelsea defender

"My wife has said that I should take one year completely off as we love travelling around.

"I would like to do some television or something related with football after that, but we'll have to see."

Ferrer joined Chelsea in the summer of 1998 for 2.2m from Barcelona, where he won five domestic titles and the 1992 European Cup during his eight seasons at the club.

He was the first-choice right-back in the Chelsea team which finished third in the Premiership in his first season before reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League the next year, only to go out to Barcelona.

Injury then prevented him from taking part in the 2000 FA Cup final, meaning that the 1998 European Super Cup was the only trophy that he actually won at Stamford Bridge.

Ferrer, who made 113 appearances for the club and scored one goal, told Chelsea TV: "I thought it would be more difficult to leave Barcelona but I have really enjoyed these five years at Chelsea.

"Some years more than others but I take very good memories of Chelsea back with me.

"I feel that I could maybe carry on playing for another couple of years but the experience of the past couple of years has been quite difficult for me.

"When you're playing every week, you feel part of the team and you can carry on. But when you've been left out of the team for two years, it's hard to carry on."




CHELSEA

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