at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits his only regret as he prepares to retire is the club's failure to win the Premier League during his 16-year spell with the Reds.
Carragher, 35, will say farewell to Liverpool on Sunday when he plays the 737th and final match of his career against QPR at Anfield.
The Merseyside-born star is sure to be given a rousing send-off by the Kop after an illustrious one-club career which included winning the Champions League in 2005 and the FA Cup a year later.
Carragher, who won 38 caps for England and played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, also helped Liverpool land a treble of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001, but he never tasted glory in the Premier League.
The closest he came was in 2008-09 when Liverpool lost just two matches, but still finished as runners-up behind Manchester United.
“I wish I'd have won the league but you've given it everything and done as much as you can in terms of what you put into it,” Carragher said on Wednesday.
“We weren't good enough, all of us. It's very simple, there's no fancy reason or excuse, other teams in that particular season were better than us.
“A couple of times we went close but it was Manchester United or Arsenal.
“It's not something I lose sleep over, I've been very lucky to achieve some of the things I have.
“If you look at everyone there's always something someone hasn't done.
“If someone had offered me to be here until the end of my career – the trophies, the big games we've played and won, the stadiums I've played in – I'd have bitten their hand off for that.”
Carragher, second on the club's all-time appearance list behind Ian Callaghan, was quick to name the Champions League final victory over AC Milan in Istanbul as the finest moment of his career.
Liverpool trailed 3-0 at half-time but stormed back to force extra-time and eventually won their first European Cup for 21 years thanks to goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek's penalty shoot-out heroics.
“Istanbul, nothing will beat that, the Champions League final,” he added.
“We've won FA Cups, League Cups, the Uefa Cup but nothing compared to the Champions League.
“It's the biggest and best trophy that you can win as a footballer in club football. It's what we achieved.”
Carragher, who made his Liverpool debut in a League Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough in January 1997, will become a television pundit next season despite previous reports that the keen student of football would move straight into coaching.
“I've never ruled anything out or in. I've gone down this road for a couple of years, I'll see if I enjoy it or if I'm any good at it and see where it takes me,” he said.
“I've been playing football all my life and I'm looking forward to doing different things and seeing where it takes me.”
Asked what he will miss most once he retires, Carragher admitted the banter of life at the club's Melwood training ground was his favourite part of the job.
“People automatically think of (missing) Anfield, I think of this place (Melwood training ground),” he said.
“This is where you come every day, this is where I've been coming since I was nine years of age.
“Anfield is sort of the icing on the cake. It's special but this is where you come every day.
“It's probably coming here and the characters and people you meet every day. You'll have to fill that void in your life.” – Sapa-AFP