Rafa Benitez has paid tribute to defender Sami Hyypia, who will leave Liverpool at the end of the season and join German side Bayer Leverkusen on a two-year deal.
Hyypia will part company with Anfield after ten years at the club. He was originally brought in by manager Gerard Houllier in 1999 for Â£2.6million and has been an integral part of success under both Houllier and Benitez.
Benitez today revealed how Hyypia will be sadly missed on Merseyside, but is happy the 35-year-old Finnish international has found a new venture in his career.
‘œWe are disappointed for us because we will miss Sami,’ said Benitez.
‘œBut we are really happy for him because he can play two more years to his maximum with a good team in a good league. So we must be pleased for him.
‘œWith three other centre backs at Liverpool it was going to be difficult for Sami to play as often as he would like so he has decided to go to Leverkusen and, like I said, we are happy for him.
‘œThe fact that we were talking to him about becoming a coach shows how much we think of him ‘“ he is a perfect professional.
‘œIn every single training session and in every single game he gives 100 per cent for the team and he has been a fantastic servant to this club.
‘œHe is always keen to help the youngsters and he sets them a really good example but he has also been very supportive of me and my staff since I first came to Liverpool.
‘œFrom my point of view, I have been really pleased to work with him and now I must wish him luck for the future.’