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Mar 9, 2010

Jens Lehmann confirms intention to retire

Jens Lehmann appears ready to end his career at the conclusion of the current season after confirming he will not be renewing his contract with Stuttgart.

Lehmann, 40, will not stand in the way of deputies Sven Ulreich and Alexander Stolz any longer and has no intention of signing a new deal with the Bundesliga side.

While Lehmann has previously indicated he would welcome the chance to return to England after spending five successful seasons with Arsenal, it now looks likely that the eccentric 'keeper will take his leave of the game in the summer.

"Staying would be unfair on Sven Ulreich," Lehmann told Bild. "He will be rivalling Alexander Stolz and they are both looking forward to the challenge.

"I am planning to retire but you just never know. I am still really enjoying football."

Lehmann emerged from the Schalke youth system and returned to Germany to star for Borussia Dortmund after spending a solitary season with AC Milan in 1998-99.

In 2003 he joined Arsenal and in his first season in North London achieved immortality when going the season unbeaten as Arsene Wenger's side claimed the Premier League title.

His unpredictable streak began to become an issue for the Gunners though and in 2006 he was sent off in the final of the Champions League as Arsenal were defeated by Barcelona in Paris.

Lehmann won 60 caps for the German national side and eventually got the better of fierce rival Oliver Kahn to be named Jurgen Klinsmann's number one for the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

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