Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise announces retirement from football

The 35-year-old has decided to hang up his boots following a 20-year career in football.

Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise announces retirement from football
John Arne Riise has retired from professional football at aged 35 (image:

One of Liverpool's most notable left-backs of the noughties, John Arne Riise, has officially put an end to his 20-year playing career as he cancelled his contract at hometown club Aalesund after just 13 games.

The Norwegian was a regular for the Reds from 2001 to 2008 and was a key figure in the side that won the UEFA Champions League in 2005, assisting Steven Gerrard's header to make it 3-1 on the night.

While he endured a difficult last season at Anfield before leaving for AS Roma, the 35-year-old remained a cult figure even years after his exit as the Reds struggled to replace the left-back.

Riise retirement

Riise during his early days at Liverpool (
Riise during his early days at Liverpool (

As he exited Anfield in 2008 following over 300 appearances in a red shirt, Riise made a high-profile switch to Serie A outfit Roma while the Reds made, and failed, in their numerous attempts to replace the red-haired defender with a hammer of a left foot.

While his last big move to Premier League side Fulham offered little success, he opted for a less strenuous end to his career that spanned across two decades as he featured for the likes of APOEL, Delhi Dynamos and Aalesund.

While not still playing at the top level he still managed to pick up a League Championship while at the Cyrpus side and in storybook fashion he returned to the club at which he began his career in March 2016. However, now, just three months later he has announced his retirement.

Riise's success did not halt at the domestic level as he was a prominent figure for his national side Norway as he remained first choice left-back for a decade and is the most-capped player ever for his country with a total of 110 caps. 

He announced his retirement on a blog post which read: "A top athlete must always be physically prepared for the best performance at Liverpool."

He continued to say that "as a footballer" you have to possess the "mental strength" that can "withstand" being "tested every week" but said that his "inner goal" to play at the "Norwegian top level" until he was "40" is "not to be."

Riise said his "motivation" is "not strong enough" to "run the race" at the "highest level" but said that his admission is both "heavy" and "painful" but "most of all" it is "honest."

Riise made the left-back position his own at Liverpool (image:
Riise made the left-back position his own at Liverpool (image:

While fellow cult figure Daniel Agger also announced his retirement this week, the former Monaco defender was at the club during the infamous journey to the Champions League final in Istanbul and also featured in the final providing the assist for Steven Gerrard to score the first goal in the famous 3-3 comeback.

Upon signing in the summer of 2001 for a £4 million fee from French side Monaco, he instantly made the left-sided position his own, becoming a key figure in the Liverpool side during his tenure. He picked up a total of seven pieces of silverware and became a favourite of Gérard Houllier and current Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez, who has at the helm at the time of Istanbul.

Just months after signing for the Reds, he provided the Kop with an instantly iconic moment as he fired a now famous thunderbolt from a free-kick past the helpless Fabian Barthez in a 3-1 victory over North-West rivals Manchester United back in 2001.

A famous goal against Merseyside rivals Everton, in addition to thunderous strikes against numerous other clubs, helped only to boost his reputation on Merseyside.

Despite a successful career with Liverpool, his stock fell somewhat in the Reds' exit from the Champions League at the semi-final stage in April 2008 as he scored an own goal in the 95th minute in the first leg as Rafa Benitez's side lost 4-3 on aggregate to English rivals Chelsea.