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Paul Scharner retires after pay-off

Paul Scharner has said football is nothing more than a business after deciding to retire following his pay-off from Hamburg.

Paul Scharner said Hamburg
Paul Scharner said Hamburg "had to pay for their mistakes" after securing a pay-off.

Scharner, who was paid €450,000 to rescind his contract after failing to establish himself in the first-team squad, has said he intends to spend time being a family man after becoming disillusioned with the state of the game.

The former Austria international, 33, had announced his decision to retire on his Twitter account on Monday.

Scharner joined Hamburg in the summer of 2012, and had ended his international career in August that year, walking out on Austria just hours before a friendly against Turkey, declaring: “This way, I can focus my full efforts on Hamburg.”

However, his time at the Bundesliga side proved unsuccessful, with injuries and suspensions limiting him to just four appearances during his first six months. He was then allowed to return to former club Wigan Athletic for a loan spell, during which he won the FA Cup but also saw the club relegated to the Championship.

Upon his return to the Imtech Arena this summer, Scharner had hoped to win a place in the Hamburg defence, but coach Thorsten Fink decided against using the player and left him to train with the second team.

In July, Scharner threatened the club, saying he would “never give up” and warning: “This could turn out to be nasty.” Eventually, the former Austria Vienna and West Brom man agreed to be released from his Hamburg contract and received compensation.

“Hamburg had to pay for their mistakes,” Scharner told a press conference on Tuesday. “From day one, Hamburg had been a disappointment for me. I was never offered a chance. Moreover, the club has no philosophy.”

Scharner, who said he would concentrate on his family “for a year”, added that he was “fed up” with football and the state of the game.

“Top-level football is no longer about football. It’s only business. To pay €100 million for one player is just wrong,” he said, in reference to Gareth Bale’s world-record move to Real Madrid. “Real characters are no longer in demand.”

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