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Sami Hyypia

Standing 1.93m tall and weighing 85kg, Sami Hyypia is an imposing presence. But that is not the only reason he is loved by Liverpool supporters. The Finn is particularly highly regarded for his loyalty to the club. He made his debut as a central defender for the Reds more than nine years ago in July 1999. Since then he has made over 400 domestic and European appearances for Liverpool and collected a number of titles and trophies, including the Champions League (2005), the UEFA Cup (2001), the European Super Cup (2001 and 2005) and the FA Cup (2001 and 2006), as well as being voted Finland’s Footballer of the Year on six occasions. Hyypia, now 34, has played nearly 100 times for his country since making his international debut over 16 years ago. Yet despite enjoying a dream career, the shy and retiring Hyypia is not entirely satisfied, “I’ve never played for Finland at a major tournament, be it the European Championship or the World Cup. That’s something I’d like to change,” he explains. The 2010 FiFA World Cup™ in South Africa is virtually the only opportunity he has left. “It’s an ambitious target,” says Hyypia, “but not an impossible one.”