Former Liverpool and Norway defender “John Arne Riise” retires

Former Liverpool and Norway defender John Arne Riise has retired aged 35.

Riise, his country’s most capped player and a member of Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League-winning side, cancelled his contract at Norwegian side Aalesund with immediate effect.

“My inner, secret goal was to play football at the Norwegian top level until I was 40,” he said on his blog.

“It’s not going to happen. It ends here. This body – this head – has been through so much over 20 years.”

Riise said he has not ruled out a comeback if the right opportunity comes along but admitted his motivation “is not strong enough to compete at the highest level”.

He added: “It is an admission that is both heavy and painful, and full of emotion.”

Former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard posted a tribute to Riise on instagram. He wrote: “Congratulations ‘Ginge ‘ on a great career and best wishes for your future. Top left back and the second hardest shot at LFC for years.”

After turning professional at Aalesund in 1996, Riise spent three years at Monaco before joining Liverpool in 2001.

The left-back made 339 appearances for the Anfield club – including their Champions League final win over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005 and FA Cup final victory over West Ham a year later – before joining Roma in 2008.

A return to England with Fulham followed between 2011 and 2014 before spells at Apoel Nicosia and Delhi Dynamos.

He returned to boyhood club Aalesund in March.

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