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Jamie Carragher to hang up his boots

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the 2012-13 season.

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Carragher's future has recently been the subject of conjecture, with his current Liverpool contract set to expire at the end of the season.

The centre-back, 35, has now confirmed he will hang up his boots following the conclusion of the current campaign, bringing to an end a career at Anfield which started with his debut in January 1997.

Carragher has made 723 senior appearances for the Reds during his time on Merseyside, and has lifted a number of trophies with the club, including the Champions League and also the FA Cup on two occasions.

He said on the club's official website: "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.

"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.

"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."

Carragher was restricted largely to appearances in the Europa League and Capital One Cup earlier this season, making only one Premier League start before Christmas. But the defender has started each of Liverpool's last three Premier League games, providing a steadying influence at the back.

Only Ian Callaghan, who played 857 times for the club between 1960 and 1978, has made more appearances for Liverpool than Carragher.

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