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Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Matteo on the verge of retirement

Dominic Matteo
Matteo made his professional debut for Liverpool in November 1993

Stoke City defender Dominic Matteo could retire from football at the end of the season after finding out he needs major surgery on his back.

The 34-year-old has made just one substitute appearance this season despite being given a one-year contract with the Potters in the summer.

Matteo told BBC Radio Stoke: "They'd need to remove two discs from my back and replace them with pins.

"It could lead to problems elsewhere so I don't want to rush into anything."

The former Blackburn man has made 368 appearances in a career that began at Liverpool in 1992.

He was part of the Leeds United squad that reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.

"If I do go ahead with it [the operation], I'd love to have a pre-season somewhere to see how it reacts," said Matteo.

"The gaffer [Stoke boss Tony Pulis] has said I can even do it here which is good of him."

Matteo, who has won six caps for Scotland, joined Stoke from Blackburn in January 2007 and was part of the squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2008.

After initially being released by the Potters, Matteo was handed a new contract at the Britannia Stadium and is currently studying to earn his coaching badges.

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