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Sami Tuomas Hyypiä (born 7 October 1973) is a Finnishmarker footballer who plays in the centre back position. Currently, he plays for German Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen and is the captain of the Finland national football team. He joined Leverkusen in summer 2009, ending a ten year spell at Liverpool in the English Premier League.

Hyypiä began his career with Ykkönen side KuMu and soon moved to Veikkausliiga outfit MyPa. He spent four years at the club, helping them win the Finnish Cup in 1992 and 1995. He moved to Willem II Tilburg in 1995 and spent the next four years there. He became the team captain and was nominated their player of the year after helping them qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Hyypiä moved to Liverpool, the team he supported as a child, in a deal worth £2.6 million. He quickly established himself in the first team, partnering Stéphane Henchoz in defence. By 2001, he regularly captained the team and that season Liverpool won a slew of honours, completing a cup treble of the Football League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, in addition to winning the UEFA Super Cup and FA Community Shield. He became first choice captain in the 2001–02 season and was part of the Football League Cup winning team in 2003. Steven Gerrard superseded him as captain in 2003 but Sami still occasionally captained the side in his absence. Hyypiä won his highest football honour in 2005 as a part of Liverpool's victorious 2004–05 Champions League campaign.

Hyypiä has been a prominent figure in the Finland national team and has been selected as the Finnish Sports' Journalists and Football Association Player of the Year numerous times. He made his debut in 1992 and since then has captained the team on various occasions, as second choice captain. He is the second most capped Finnish player after Jari Litmanen.

Early life

Hyypiä was born in Porvoo and raised in Kuusankoskimarker, Finland, north-east of Helsinkimarker; the son of Irma and Jouko Hyypiä. Hyypiä's parents were both footballers, his father Jouko playing for Finnish team Pallo Peikot, and his mother an amateur goalkeeper.The young Sami played ice hockey, but his parents' influence was important in him choosing a career in football; as he commented "I guess there was only one career option for me."

Club career

Early career

Hyypiä started his career with Pallo-Peikot where he played every position except his final position of defender and KuMu, before joining Veikkausliiga club MyPa for the 1992 season. He won the Finnish Cup with MyPa in 1992 and 1995.

In 1995 at the age of 22, he went for a trial at Newcastle United, his first taste of English football. Hyypiä said "They (Newcastle) certainly helped my career. I had a two-week trial in 1995 under Kevin Keegan and it gave me an insight into English football. I was a young player in Finland and I didn't really expect it to lead to anything. I just went for the experience, but it was good experience and I enjoyed my time there. It helped me a lot at the time to see a big English club at close hand and I always look forward to going back."

Willem II Tilburg

Later that year, Hyypiä joined Dutchmarker club Willem II and spent four years with the Eredivisie team, soon becoming a favourite with the fans and winning their player of the year award in his final season. Hyypiä captained the side to qualification for the Champions League, although he was not to stick around to play in their European campaign the following season.

Liverpool

First few seasons & "The Treble"

On 99 May 1999, Hyypiä was signed by Liverpool, the team he supported as a boy, for £2.6 million, having been recommended to former chief executive Peter Robinson by a TV cameraman. Initially, Hyypiä was regarded as an unknown who would not live up to expectations but this preconception was dismissed when he immediately formed a successful central defensive partnership with fellow arrival Stéphane Henchoz. Almost ten years later in a farewell tribute to Hyypiä, Ron Yeats, then the chief scout for Liverpool, commented that the deal was "one of the best bits of business we've done over the years...a steal - a bargain..."In the 2000–01 season, Hyypiä shared the captaincy of Liverpool with Robbie Fowler while Jamie Redknapp, the full-time captain, was suffering from a long-term injury. During that season, Hyypiä and Fowler led the team to a cup treble: the Football League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

Captaincy

In 2002, Hyypiä became first choice Liverpool captain after Redknapp, who had been blighted by long-term injuries, and Fowler both left the club. However, after such a bright start to his Liverpool career came a relative lull and in 2003, Hyypiä was replaced as Liverpool captain by Steven Gerrard. With some of the pressure lifted, his performances generally improved.

2003 & Beyond

In 2003, Hyypiä received a red card against Manchester United, the only red of his career. "Van Nistelrooy was going through and maybe I took his shirt a little bit. The referee thought so. I got a straight red card. They got a penalty. It was an agony to watch the game in the dressing room. The only red card of my career. You remember that sort of thing."

In 2004, new Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez moved Jamie Carragher from fullback to partner Hyypiä in central defence. This seemingly reinvigorated Hyypiä and the team went on to have a successful season, winning the UEFA Champions League, on the back of their solid defence. On 10 August 2005, it was reported that Hyypiä had agreed to a new three-year contract after weeks of talks with the Reds which would keep him at Anfield until 2008.

During the 2005–06 season, Hyypiä was relegated to third-choice captain after Jamie Carragher's ascent as Gerrard's deputy on the field. In the FA Cup Sixth Round against Birmingham City, he scored the opening goal in the first minute as the Reds thrashed the home team 7-0. He started in the victorious 2006 FA Cup Final against West Ham, though he missed his spot kick in the penalty shoot-out. During the season, he climbed into the top 25 in the club's all-time appearances table after featuring in the Carling Cup against Arsenal in January 2007.

Despite speculation in the summer of 2007 linking him to various other Premier League teams, Hyypiä insisted that he would stay at Liverpool for the remainder of his contract. On 25 August 2007 Hyypiä broke his nose during an away match against Sunderland in the Stadium of Lightmarker. He quickly returned on the pitch to play against Toulouse in the Champions League qualifying match on 28 August 2007, in which he scored the second goal for Liverpool while wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

In April 2008, Hyypiä signed a new deal until Summer 2009 with Benítez stating he is a good role model for young defenders such as Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.The 2008/2009 season marked the defender's tenth season at the club. On 22 August 2008, Premier League newcomers Stoke City F.C. offered £2.5 million for Hyypiä but Liverpool rejected the offer. On 2 March 2008 with his appearance against Bolton Wanderers, Hyypiä made it into the top 20 Liverpool FC player appearances of all time.

Hyypiä was voted in 19th place in Sky Sports'Top 50 Premier League Foreign Players', 45th in FourFourTwo magazine's 100 Greatest Foreign Players and 38th in Liverpool's 100 Players Who Shook the Kop survey. Underlining the important role Hyypiä had fulfilled at Liverpool, Ian Rush noted: "He’s got to be up there with the best signings the club has ever made."

In September 2008, he was not included in the 25-man Liverpool squad for the group stages of the Champions League, as new UEFA regulations meant that clubs had to include at least eight home-grown players in their squad.On 4 May 2009, it was announced that Hyypiä had signed two-year contract with Bayer Leverkusen.Liverpool had offered him the chance to stay at Anfield in a coaching capacity but Sami decided to carry on playing, though he expressed interest in returning to Liverpool as a coach once his playing career is over.

Hyppiä's teammates say farewell
played his last match for Liverpool at Anfield against Tottenham Hotspur on 24 May 2009, coming on as a substitute to replace captain Steven Gerrard after 84 minutes in their 3-1 win. Gerrard passed the captain's armband to him, personally putting it onto Sami's arm. During what remained of the match, Sami managed to get a header from a corner kick in the dying minutes of the game but the shot was blocked by Heurelho Gomes. After the match ended, an emotional Hyypiä received a standing ovation from Liverpool fans and his teammates held him aloft.

Bayer Leverkusen

Sami moved to the Bundesliga side in the summer 2009., making his debut on 8th August against 1. FSV Mainz 05.

In November 2009, bundesliga.de, the official website of the Bundesliga, named Hyypiä as the best defender in the league for the first third of the season. At that point, Leverkusen was topping the league table with the least goals conceeded.

International career

Hyypiä made his debut for the Finnish national football team against Tunisia on 7 November 1992 aged 19. He is currently the captain of the team. As of October 2009, he is the second most capped player in the all-time list of appearances for Finland with 100 caps.He reached 100 caps for his country in a friendly match against Sweden on August 12th 2009. On his 50th cap in 2003, Hyypiä scored the winning goal in a friendly against Northern Ireland, coincidentally, the same team Hyypiä scored his first international goal against in 1999. Hyypiä has been crowned footballer of the year in Finland seven times.

Career statistics



Career honours

MyPa

  • Runner-up: 1993, 1994, 1995
1992 MyPa Veikkausliiga 33 0 0 0 33 0
1993 12 0 1 0 13 0
1994 25 5 4 0 29 5
1995 26 3 4 0 30 3

1995-96 Willem II Tilburg Eredivisie 14 0 0 0 - 0 0 14 0
1996-97 30 1 5 1 - 0 0 35 2
1997-98 30 0 3 0 - 0 0 33 0
1998-99 26 2 1 0 - 4 0 31 2

1999-00 Liverpool Premier League 38 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 42 2
2000-01 35 3 6 0 6 1 11 0 58 4
2001-02 37 3 2 0 1 0 16 2 56 5
2002-03 36 3 3 0 4 0 12 2 55 5
2003-04 38 4 4 0 1 0 8 1 51 5
2004-05 32 2 1 0 1 0 15 1 49 3
2005-06 36 1 6 1 1 0 14 0 57 2
2006-07 23 2 0 0 1 1 5 0 29 3
2007-08 27 1 4 1 0 0 13 2 44 4
2008-09 15 1 1 0 2 1 0 0 18 2

2009-10 Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga 9 0 1 0 0 0 10 0
96||8||||||||||9||0||105||8
100||3||9||1||colspan="2"|-||4||0||113||4
317||22||29||2||19||3||94||8||464||35
|9||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||10||0
523||33||39||3||19||3||107||8||688||47
  • Winner: 1992, 1995


Willem II Tilburg



Liverpool



Personal awards

  • Finnish Sports' Journalists Player of the Year: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
  • Finnish Football Association Player of the Year: 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
  • Finnish Sportsperson of the Year: 2001
  • UEFA Team of the Year selection: 2001
  • Premier League Player of the Month: November 1999


References

  1. From one colossus to another...
  2. I'd Like to Return to Liverpool as a Coach (in Finnish)
  3. Campbell, Al (2008-12-05). Hyypiä wins award. LFConline. Retrieved on 2008-12-18.


External links




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