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By ESPN Staff

Sami Hyypia eyes eventual Anfield return as coach

Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia said it was a huge wrench to leave the club after 10 years but he hoped to eventually return to Anfield as a coach.

The 35-year-old Finland international, who will join Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in the close season, explained on Tuesday his amicable departure from Liverpool.

"The main reason is I still think I'm young enough to play football and I know chances to play here would be limited," he told the club's website.

"I understand it isn't possible to play enough games here for me to be happy, so I had to look elsewhere.

"I got the option to go abroad to Bayer Leverkusen. The whole package was good, they have big plans for me and hopefully I can go there and help them to be successful."

Hyypia has won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, European Super Cup twice and English League Cup and FA Cup twice, having played more than 450 games for Liverpool, scoring 35 goals. He is also closing in on a century of appearances for Finland.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez offered Hyypia a coaching role but the Finn felt it was too early to stop playing.

"Coaching is something which has always been in my mind, but I have to take my badges first," he said. "At the end of my playing career I will look to take the badges and then see. I would like to come back here one day as a coach."

Hyypia joined Liverpool from Dutch side Willem II Tilburg in May 1999 and he could yet leave with a Premier League champions medal if they pip Manchester United for the title this month.


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