Monday, 25 May 2009

'Legend' Hyypia bids an emotional farewell a Anfield

Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia bid an emotional farewell to the club yesterday after the Reds beat Spurs 3-1 at Anfield. For an entire decade Hyypia has made Liverpool’s back line one of the best in the Premier League. A quiet, colossus who never once publicly questioned the club, even when he was stripped of the captaincy, or later the vice captaincy. His cup tally with the reds was remarkable, winning the FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup twice each. The UEFA Cup once and of course, who could forget the Champions League. Sadly the one cup that has eluded him, is the one cup that has eluded the club for twenty years, but one suspects that will be put right next term, unfortunately without the dignified Finn. Yesterday marked his 464 club appearances since arriving in a £2.5million deal from Dutch club Willem II in the summer of 1999, and the Kop displayed a special mosaic before kick off in honour of the man, simply saying ‘Sami’.

The defender was on the bench for the clash and for almost the entire game heard the crowd sing his name. With five minutes left on the clock, Benitez finally relented to the pressure and allowed the 35-year-old to come on to replace Steven Gerrard who gave Hyypia his captains arm band. During his career, he scored 35 goals, his most memorable being the sweet volley against Juventus in the Champions League quarter final in April 2005. The Hollywood ending was denied yesterday, as Hyypia almost scored his 36 goal, but his goal bound header was cleared off the line.

Once the final whistle came, the emotions ran high and as Sami bid his farewells to the crowd he had to wipe the tears from his eyes with his shirt. Then He was hoisted aloft by the team and carried on their shoulders like a hero. It was a fitting farewell to a true Anfield legend and a player that will surely be viewed as one of the Premier League's finest foreign imports.

"It was fantastic and I would like to thank the fans for that and for their wonderful support to me during the 10 years I have been at the club," Hyypia told "There were a few tears at the end and I was surprised I managed to keep them inside until then. That was a sad moment for me. I've always had a really good relationship with the fans. They have treated me as their own from day one and that will never change. I will miss them. Goodbyes are never easy but life goes on. Now I'm looking forward to a new challenge in Germany but I'm leaving Liverpool behind with great memories but sad feelings."

Benitez speaking to Sky Sports after the game said: "It was good. We wanted to win, we wanted to score more goals and to guarantee another three points so 86 points and a lot of goals was very positive and also because it was the last day of Sami it was very emotional."

"He has been a fantastic professional," The veteran Finn who will now join German side Bayern Leverkusen on a two-year-deal before almost certainly returning to Anfield in a coaching capacity.

"The last five years he has been really, really good but before was the same - so 10 years you are talking about a legend. You are talking about someone who is so good as a person and as a professional for us if he comes back quickly we will be really satisfied."

There are a great set of photo's of Sami's farewell at the official site, and can be viewed here:

there is also a video here:

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