Fulham’s Finnish goalkeeper Antti Niemi has announced his retirement after conceding defeat in the fight to return from a wrist injury.
The 36-year-old, who has 67 international caps for Finland, had already planned to quit when his current deal ran out in 2009.
“My plan was always to finish my career after this contract, which runs out next summer,” he told Fulham’s website.
“Due to my wrist injury it would be another two months before I could start training again.
“I asked the club for their views. I was very grateful that they understood where I was coming from and thankfully we settled the contract. So it’s come a little bit earlier than I expected.”
Niemi also played for Southampton, Rangers and Hearts during 11 years in the British game.
“I don’t think people here realise how wonderful the atmosphere is and what football means to people.
“When you come from abroad to a different culture, it really strikes you. The pressure is amazing, every single game feels like a big game.
“The atmosphere at games was one of my favourite things. Even if sometimes you’d hear things coming from behind the goal, it’s fine.
“British people have a great sense of humour, they come to the games, support their teams and it really is special for any foreign player.”