Rio Ferdinand leads tributes to retiring Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher

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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has praised centre back Jamie Carragher, after the Liverpool star announced plans to retire at the end of the season. 

Tributes to Carragher have been flooding in, with the Scouser set to hang up his boots after an illustrious 16-year career at Anfield. 

Ferdinand, who faced Carragher numerous times at club level, wrote on his official Facebook page: "Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to Liverpool. Great player and a top fella! Funny guy! Nutter when we were kids but management material now.."

The 35-year-old, who has over 700 appearances for the Reds, has been unable to hold down a regular first-team position under Brendan Rodgers, and released a statement revealing the reasons behind his decision. 

"This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer. I'm making this announcement now because I don't want the manager or the club to be answering questions on my future when I've already decided what I am going to do," it read

Since Carragher broke the news on Wednesday, a number of players, past and present, have expressed their reaction to his decision. 

Former teammate Michael Owen tweeted: "What a servant Carra has been for Liverpool. A rare breed and it’s been a privilege to play alongside, room with and be big mates with one of footballs real men. I doubt we have heard the last of him. He has too much to offer the game to be away for long!"

Retired Anfield stars Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer have also paid tribute to the Liverpool defender. 

"Jamie’s been thinking about this for a while now and his career and when is the right time to decide," said Redknapp. "The career that he’s had, he’s an absolute icon of the Premier League and for Liverpool. They are going to miss him." 

Ex-Reds striker Fowler said: "Sorry to hear the news on carra, his quotes regarding retirement tell you everything about the man... An absolute legend of a player."

McAteer also gave his thoughts, tweeting: "It’s not just a sad day for football but it’s a sad day for Jamie Carragher. I’m sure it’s not been a decision he’s taken lightly.

"He knuckled down, worked very hard and has become a credit to the game and the football club and that’s why it’s going to be a sad loss. When you have a player that has been around as long as he has it will leave a hole."

One of the most respected professionals in the game, Carragher will go down as a legend on Merseyside after winning 11 trophies during his time at club. FA Cup triumphs in 2001 and 2006, coupled with a Champions League winners medal from 2005, mean the defender will always be well-remembered at Anfield, with a new chapter of his life set to start when he calls it a day this summer.

Looking for a positive end to his career with the club, Carragher will no doubt be aiming to help his side return to the Premier League's top four, as they look to secure a Champions League spot, while the Europa League still offers him a realistic chance for a final piece of silverware.

Premier League
Manchester United
Jamie Carragher
Rio Ferdinand
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