Carragher to retire at the end of the season

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Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has announced he will retire from football at the end of the season.

The 35-year has made over 700 appearances for the Reds, putting him behind only Ian Callaghan in the club's all-time appearance list.

The defender announced his intentions to retire at the end of the season in a statement on Liverpool's official website.

"This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer," the statement read.

"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.

"I will be fully committed between now and the end of the season to doing the very best for Liverpool Football Club, as I've done my entire career since joining aged just nine-years-old.

"It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great club for as long as I have and I am immensely proud to have done so and thankful for all the support I have had. There are many memories I want to share and people to thank, but now is not the time for that.

Since joining Liverpool 26 years ago and making his senior debut in 1997, Carragher has won the FA Cup twice, the League Cup three times and the UEFA Cup once, and was part of the Reds side that won the Champions League so dramatically in 2005.

The defender also won 38 caps for England, and featured for the Three Lions at the 2010 World Cup.

Carragher has struggled for regular first-team football over the past few seasons, and has made just 12 Premier League appearances this term.

It had been speculated that he would join Liverpool's backroom staff after hanging up his boots, but says he will focus on helping Liverpool finish the season on a high in both the Premier League and the Europa League before he announces what he intends to do next.

"I won't be making any further comment on this decision until the end of the season; all our focus and concentration should be on achieving the best possible finish in the league this season and trying to win the last remaining trophy we are competing in."

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Carragher following the announcement, and insists he can still have an influence on how the Anfield club finish the season.

"Jamie has been absolutely outstanding for me since I joined the club," he said. "He has been a model professional on and off the pitch and has shown an unswerving commitment to our work. 

"We still have a lot to play for as we look to finish as high up the Barclays Premier League as possible and continue our progression in the Europa League, a competition we'd like to win.

"He will have a significant role to play for us between now and May and I know his commitment and dedication on the pitch will remain as it has done his entire career at Liverpool.

"Jamie's focus is always on doing what is best for the team and he has said he doesn't want any distractions while there are still important matches to be played and won.

"But when the time is right we, as a team and a club, will give the man the tribute and recognition he deserves; I know the supporters will want to say thank you to someone who has served them with such distinction for so long."

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