Former Liverpool players Kenny Dalglish and Phil Thompson have begun what will probably be the first of many tributes for defender Sami Hyypia, who will leave the club at the end of this season.
Hyypia agreed a two-year deal with German side Bayer Leverkusen, putting an end to his 10 year stay at Anfield. Hyypia has been an integral part of success under both Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez.
Dalglish told the club’s official web site, “Sami has been an absolutely magnificent servant to this football club. He came in and showed his worth immediately. He was made captain of the club and even when the decision was taken to make a change and give the armband to Steven Gerrard, the dignity he showed was brilliant and reflected tremendously well on him as a person.
“To spend 10 years at the same club is a remarkable achievement, and even more so when that club is Liverpool and the demands to succeed year after year are exceptionally high.
“I’m sure it was a hard decision to reach but sometimes even the best things have to finish. He made a lot of friends during his 10 years at Anfield and I am sure he will leave with the very best wishes of everybody connected with the club.”
Meanwhile Thompson, who worked closely with Hyypia whilst he was assistant manager to Houllier, also rang the Finnish international’s praises.
He said, “He has been a terrific servant for Liverpool Football Club – not just on the footballing side but as a person and a captain off it.
“I must say it’s been a pleasure to have known him. It’s pleasure to have been involved in some of his career at Liverpool. I worked with him every week when I was there as the defensive coach, so if I had any input in what he has achieved, then I am extremely proud.
“But the credit is all his because he is a fantastic footballer and I can’t think of a bigger compliment to pay him than to say it has quite simply done wonders for Liverpool FC to have been associated with him.”
Earlier in the week, Benitez branded Hyypia a ‘œperfect professional’. Let us know your memories and thoughts on Hyypia in this thread in the forum.