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By ESPN Staff

Injury forces Niemi to hang up his gloves

Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi has announced his retirement from football, the club have revealed on their website.

The 36-year-old Finland international also played for Southampton, Rangers and Hearts spending almost 11 years in the British game following his move from FC Copenhagen.

Niemi joined Fulham in January 2006 and made 62 appearances during his two and half years at Craven Cottage and also earned 67 international caps.

Niemi revealed he had planned to end his career at the end of his current contract which runs out next summer.

However, a wrist injury meant he would not be able to resume training for another two months, prompting the player to bring his retirement forward in agreement with the club.

Niemi also revealed he hopes to be involved in coaching Finland at some point but intends to spend time with his family in the immediate future.

Niemi told the Cottagers' official website, www.fulhamfc.com: 'I would like to thank everyone because it's really been a privilege playing in Britain.

'I don't think people here realise how wonderful the atmosphere is and what football means to people.

'When you come from abroad to a different culture, it really strikes you. The pressure is amazing; every single game feels like a big game.

'The atmosphere at games was one of my favourite things.

'Even if sometimes you'd hear things coming from behind the goal, it's fine. British people have a great sense of humour, they come to the games, support their teams and it really is special for any foreign player.'

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