Former Liverpool left back John Arne Riise has announced his retirement at the age of 35 after cancelling his contract at boyhood club Aalesunds Fotballklubb. The Norwegian made 708 appearances in a solid career and is his his country’s most-capped player with 110 caps. The best years of the defender’s career were at Liverpool where he scored 30 goals in 339 appearances across a variety of domestic and continental competitions.
“My inner goal was to play football at the Norwegian top level until I was 40. But that is not to be. It stops here,” Riise shared on his official website. “Lately there has emerged a completely new feeling in me that I am no longer strong enough to perform at my best.”
Riise was an energetic and enterprising left back who could also play on the left of midfield. While he was not always the best defensively or tactically, his stamina and bulldozer of a left foot ensured that he had quite a few memorable moments in Liverpool colours. He could hit the ball with ferocity and accuracy, a feature that isn’t as prevalent as it used to be in the 1990s and 2000s. Spectacular long-range strikes were no fluke.
After starting his career at Aalesunds, Riise moved on to Monaco for three seasons winning a Ligue 1 title before ending up at Liverpool in the Gérard Houllier era. It was a time full optimism as Merseyside’s finest completed a cup treble the season before Riise’s arrival. In what was a familiar tale, Houllier couldn't quite take the next step as Liverpool manager.
Norway's most-capped footballer helped Liverpool to two UEFA Super Cups, a League Cup, an FA Cup, and a Champions League in seven seasons on Merseyside before joining AS Roma in 2008. A return to England with Fulham followed in 2011, which provided a further three seasons of Premier League football before spells with APOEL, Delhi Dynamos, and back home with Aalesunds tied up a solid career.
Riise was loyal and would have stayed a Red until the end of his career if he could. For those who remember or are unfamiliar, celebrate Riise’s time at Liverpool by revisiting some of his very best goals. By Fowler, he could hit them.