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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 17:57 UK

Hyypia to join Bayer Leverkusen

Sami Hyypia
Hyypia will ply his trade in the Bundesliga next season

Liverpool centre-back Sami Hyypia has agreed to join Bayer Leverkusen on a two-year deal at the end of the season.

Hyypia underwent a medical with the German outfit on Monday and will link up with the club in the summer.

The 35-year-old Finn, who has been at Anfield for 10 years explained the decision to leave was amicable.

"The main reason is I still think I'm young enough to play football and I know chances to play here would be limited," he told Liverpool's website.

"I understand it isn't possible to play enough games here for me to be happy, so I had to look elsewhere."

Hyypia joined the Anfield club for £2.5m from Dutch outfit Willem II in May 1999 and could yet leave with a Premier League champions medal if they beat Manchester United to the title this month.


But the Finn claimed the opportunity to continue playing first-team football was too good to turn down.

"I got the option to go abroad to Bayer Leverkusen. The whole package was good, they have big plans for me and hopefully I can go there and help them to be successful," he said.

Hyypia has played more than 450 games for Liverpool, scoring 35 goals and his medal haul is even more impressive.

During his 10 years on Merseyside Hyypia has won the Champions League and Uefa Cup as well winning the European Super Cup in 2001 and 2005, the FA Cup in 2001 and 2006 and League Cup in 2001 and 2003.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez discussed a coaching role with Hyypia but the Finn felt it was too early to stop playing.

I would like to come back here one day as a coach

Sami Hyypia

"We had a number of discussions and the possibility of a coaching role was mentioned, but I don't feel ready for that yet. I feel I still have a few more years in my legs to play football," he said.

"Coaching is something which has always been in my mind, but I have to take my badges first, at the end of my playing career I will look to take the badges and then see. I would like to come back here one day as a coach."

A statement on Liverpool's website read: "Hyypia has earned legendary status at Anfield for the part he has played in the club's many successes over the past decade.

"He will leave Merseyside with the best wishes of every Liverpool supporter."

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see also
Reds reject Newcastle Hyypia move
01 Feb 09 |  Newcastle
Hyypia shocked at Reds omission
10 Sep 08 |  Liverpool
Hyypia signs new Liverpool deal
07 Apr 08 |  Liverpool

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