Hyypia swayed by Reds mates

Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 by PA

Bayer Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia admits his decision to leave Liverpool to join the Bundesliga club this summer was made easier by the recommendations of several former Reds team-mates.

The Finn did not need to think for too long when Bayer showed their interest but the enthusiastic words from Markus Babbel and Dietmar Hamann made his mind up for him.

"I had several options to continue playing in the Premier League but, after 10 years in Liverpool, it would have been difficult for me to be accepted by the fans at another club," he said.

"The offer from Leverkusen therefore came at just the right time.

"I chatted with my former team-mates Markus Babbel, Philip Degen and Didi Hamann. They all spoke very positively about Bayer Leverkusen and that made my decision easy."

The fact he made only 12 appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League last season also influenced his decision to move on and find one last challenge in his career at the age of 35.

"I am not the kind of person who is happy to train every day only to sit on the bench or be sat at home on match day," he told Sport Bild magazine.

"That is why I decided to do something different. I have come here to play football since there is nothing worse for a footballer than to sit on the bench.

"Of course I am going to have to fight for my place but I am giving everything I have and working hard every day to do that."

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