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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 13:35 UK

Keeper Niemi announces retirement

Antti Niemi
Niemi has played in Britain since joining Rangers in 1997

Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi has retired from football.

The 36-year-old, who has 67 international caps for Finland, had already planned to quit when his current deal ran out in 2009.

But a wrist injury meant Niemi would not be able to resume training for another two months, prompting the player to bring his retirement forward.

"I would like to thank everyone because it's been a privilege playing in Britain," he told the club's website.

Niemi has played for Southampton, Rangers and Hearts, spending 11 years in Britain following his move to Glasgow from FC Copenhagen in 1997.

He joined Fulham in January 2006 and made 62 appearances during his two and half years at Craven Cottage.

"I don't think people here realise how wonderful the atmosphere is and what football means to people.

606: DEBATE

"When you come from abroad to a different culture, it really strikes you. The pressure is amazing, every single game feels like a big game.

"The atmosphere at games was one of my favourite things. Even if sometimes you'd hear things coming from behind the goal, it's fine.

"British people have a great sense of humour, they come to the games, support their teams and it really is special for any foreign player."



see also
Fulham hit by Niemi injury blow
03 Dec 06 |  Fulham
Strachan ends interest in Niemi
12 Jul 05 |  Celtic
Niemi halts international career
20 May 05 |  Internationals
Furious Niemi denies Man Utd link
10 Jan 05 |  Southampton
Saints bag Niemi
27 Aug 02 |  Wales


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