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Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart announces retirement at end of season

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart announces retirement at end of season
© Reuters
Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart announces that he will be retiring from football at the end of the season.

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart has announced that he will be retiring from football at the end of the season.

Hart, who will be 37 when his contract expires in the summer, has made 690 appearances while representing 10 different clubs across his 21-year professional career, spending the last three seasons with Scottish giants Celtic for whom he has made 138 appearances to date, keeping 59 clean sheets.

Hart has won five major trophies with the Hoops and is hoping to end his final campaign in Glasgow on a high by lifting a third Scottish Premiership title and a second Scottish Cup.

The 75-cap England international, who was part of Three Lions squads in four consecutive major tournaments between 2010 and 2016, explained his decision to hang up his gloves during an interview with close friend and his mental performance coach Jamie Edwards for Celtic TV.

"As of June, I'm going to stop playing professional football," said Hart. "This is something that I've thought about for a while. There's no right or wrong time but the way this club works that I'm playing at the moment there's so much on it.

"There's so much heart and soul poured into what we're doing as a football club, with the grand scheme of the club, the support base and the conversations that go on around it.

"There's obviously a conversation around the goalkeeping position for next season so I just thought it was important with the blessing of the club [and after] conversations with Brendan [Rodgers] and Stevie Woods (goalkeeper coach), that we get the message out. It takes one thing off the table that people will need to speculate over."

"I feel great physically," Hart added. "As good as I possibly can do for my age and what I've done to my body, involved in football from the age of 16 onwards.

"I've gone down every avenue to keep myself in the best possible shape and be in the best possible position to give my all come game day, and right now I'm at that. Come game day, I really do peak, but I'm aware that time waits for no man and I don't want my body to be retiring me. That was one of the key factors (behind my decision)."

A statement from Celtic manager Rodgers on their official website read: "Joe has enjoyed a phenomenal career and I know will be huge miss to the game when he finally retires from playing football in the summer.

"For all he has done in football, Joe deserves huge praise and congratulations, he has been such a brilliant asset to Celtic of course and the wider game at the highest levels, domestically and internationally.

Joe Hart warms up for Celtic on September 14, 2022© Reuters

"But more than that, he is a tremendous man, just brilliant to work with, someone who I know has been a great teammate to so many throughout his career and a player who never gives anything but his absolute best. Each and every day his work ethic is an example to all in football.

"While he will be a real loss on the pitch, I know he will stay in football in some form. It will always be part of his life and I am sure whatever he does after the summer time, everyone at the club wishes him nothing but the very best of success.

"I totally understand and respect Joe's reasons for making this announcement and for being clear to the club and our fans on his future.

"I also know he will continue to work right through this season with the same intensity, commitment and drive which he has always been known for."

Hart is one of only three players along with Sir Kenny Dalglish and Andrei Kanchelskis to have claimed winners' medals in the three major trophies in both England and Scotland.

Manchester City's Joe Hart celebrates his sides third goal on May, 13, 2012© Reuters

The shot-stopper began his career with boyhood club Shrewsbury Town, making his senior debut in April 2004, before joining Manchester City who initially loaned the goalkeeper out to Tranmere Rovers, Blackpool and Birmingham City before integrating him into the first team.

Hart went onto etch his name in the history books at Man City, where he made 348 appearances and won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and one FA Cup.

He won the Premier League Golden Glove after keeping 17 clean sheets and was named in the PFA Team of the Year when Man City celebrated their first top-flight title for 44 years in the 2011-12 campaign.

Following the arrival of manager Pep Guardiola in 2016, Hart left Man City to join Torino and West Ham United on loan, before departing permanently in 2018 to link up with Burnley.

After two years with the Clarets, Hart then spent the 2020-21 season with Tottenham Hotspur, before moving to Scotland to join Celtic in search of a fresh challenge and regular first-team football.

Hart has made 34 appearances in all competitions for Celtic so far this season and is expected to start between the sticks in Sundays' Premiership match at Motherwell.

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