Alex Manninger has confirmed he will retire from professional football upon the expiry of his Liverpool contract this summer.
The goalkeeper will hang up his gloves after a lengthy and distinguished 22-year career within the game, which included spells in the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga and 34 caps with his native Austria.
Manninger – a double winner with Arsenal in 1998 and a league champion with Juventus in 2012 – joined the Reds last summer on a short-term deal from FC Augsburg.
The 39-year-old hasn’t figured in competitive action for Jürgen Klopp’s side, but has been a positive presence at Melwood, offering unwavering support and advice to the club’s goalkeeping ranks and drawing on his experience to help his teammates throughout a busy campaign.
But now Manninger has made the decision to call time on his career – and he caught up with Liverpoolfc.com at the training complex recently to discuss his decision, his year working with the Reds, his thoughts on the current goalkeepers at the club and his plans for the future…
Alex, you’ve made the decision to retire from professional football after more than 20 years in the game…
Yes, it’s true that I’ve made the decision to retire. I wasn’t going to announce it initially, but then I thought if John [Achterberg], yourselves or the club wanted me to, I thought it’d be a nice gesture to announce it via the club I was last with. I thought about it a couple of months ago and I was keen to decide myself, not wait again for the summer and whether I receive a phone call or not. I tried to listen to myself, to my body, and then I said ‘no, that’s enough’. I didn’t want to go too far and let my body decide, or the phone decide if it doesn’t ring, so that’s why I came to the decision of that being it for me. I feel good, I finished at a high level I never dreamed of. If I played for big clubs at my peak, that’s one thing, but to have had this experience now with the staff, coaches and players of Liverpool is fantastic. I’ve had one of the greatest experiences in my career here, but it is time.