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PICTURE SPECIAL: A fond farewell to Liverpool rock Hyypia, Blackburn star Tugay and Villa favourite
Published : 25 May 2009 10:39:07
Family album: Sami Hyypia says goodbye to Anfield Another season over and a fond farewell to three players who have often been unsung heroes in the Barclays Premier League. Sami Hyypia said auf wiedersehen and headed for Leverkusen after a decade at Anfield, Blackburn midfielder Tugay retired at the venerable age of 38, while injury forced the end of Martin Laursen's Aston Villa career at 31. Hyypia was on the bench for the 3-1 defeat of Tottenham but came onand took the captain's armband for the last six minutes at Anfield. The Liverpool centre-half received a standing ovation and had earlier been the subject of a mass tribute from the Kop, where fans held up a mosaic bearing his name. '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 the club's official website. Enlarge Kop that: Liverpool fans salute their departing hero before the game against Spurs, while the players do the same later (below) 'There were a few tears at the end and I was surprised I managed to keep them inside until then. '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.' Tugay has brought Turkish delight to Ewood Park since joining from Rangers eight years ago and was given a terrific send-off during the goalless draw with Portsmouth. Many fans made banners and some even wore fancy dress to see off the cultured former Galatasaray midfielder. Laursen's goodbye was a little more understated. Forced out of the game after along-running battle with knee injuries, the Denmark defender could play no part in the 1-0 defeat of Newcastle. The Aston Villa favourite joined the lap of honour at the end of the match and will be missed as a player who had brought solidity to Martin O'Neill's back four.