Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hyypia Sad to Miss Premier League Medal

Sami Hyypia has spoken of his sadness at leaving Anfield without a title winners' medal - but the 35-year-old insists he will keep his fingers crossed Liverpool finally clinch Barclays Premier League glory in 2009-10.

The Finland international claims he will look back on his decade on Merseyside with no regrets having helped transform Liverpool back into one of Europe's elite clubs.

His haul of winners' medals includes the Champions League, UEFA Cup, two FA Cups, two League Cups and two Super Cups.

Only the Premier League has eluded Hyypia - but the veteran defender will not be bitter if Liverpool's long wait ends next term.

"I am sad to miss that medal but I don't think I have anything to regret," he said. "Next season it might happen but I only play 10 games and I wouldn't get a medal anyway.

"That played a part in my decision to leave. When I first came here I couldn't have believed I would be here for 10 years and win the things I have won. I am sadder for the fans that Liverpool haven't won the Premier League than for myself.

"I will keep my fingers crossed that the fans get what they deserve."

Hyypia bids farewell to the Kop on Sunday before beginning a two-year stint at Bayer Leverkusen.

His reception this weekend is likely to rival that which greeted Robbie Fowler when he left for the second time two years ago - not that the humble Finn is relishing being the focus of attention.

He said: "I won't like being the centre of attention, not at all. But in this case I have no choice.

"It is not like I am retiring. I have a new challenge ahead of me but it will be very emotional and it is better not to think about that too much before the game."

As well as a contract offer from Liverpool, Hyypia had options with other Premier League clubs.

"I would have had to move house wherever I went so I thought, why not a different country and a different league?" he added. "Plus Leverkusen really wanted me.

"For 10 years I have played in the same league, in the same stadiums and against the same clubs mainly, so now I have a chance to go to Germany which is a good league.

"I seriously thought about hanging my boots up at the end of this season but everyone I know who has retired, such as Gary McAllister, has told me I should play as long as I can. I have shown when I have played this season that I can still play to a high level."

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