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Nigeria’s Carl Ikeme Announces Retirement despite Beating Cancer

Nigeria’s international goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.

Nigeria’s international goalkeeper Carl Ikeme who was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July 2017, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers’ shot stopper decided to hang up his boots following a consultation with medical experts, just a month after overcoming a year-long battle with acute leukemia.

Ikeme has been with the Molineux club for his whole career, making more than 200 appearances. He recently revealed he was in “complete remission” after a “tough year and intense chemotherapy” but the doctors advised him to hang up his boots to give his body time to recover.

“I can’t risk trying to come back, my health is the main thing in all of this,” Ikeme told Wolves’ official website.

“It’s difficult when you look at all the things you’ve gone through in your football career, but in the grand scheme of things, with your life in danger, it’s a minimum price I have to pay to spend time with my family.”

Ikeme joined the West Midlands club as a 14-year-old and was a regular when they won League 1 in 2014 and went on to earn legendary status in his over 200 appearances.

Ikeme said he was proud to have been a “one-club man” and had watched Wolves’ promotion campaign as any die-hard fan would.

“This is my club,” he said. “It’s been strange because this year I’ve enjoyed being a fan, watching the games. I’d be getting a bit heated on my own in my hospital room when nobody was about.

(Wolves Players and Fans Paying Tribute to Ikeme)

(Wolves Players and Fans Paying Tribute to Ikeme)

In an official statement by the club’s chairman Jeff Shi, the side praised the goalkeeper’s strength of character in “what has been a very challenging time for him.”

“Carl is more than just a player in our eyes – he is our brother and an important part of our family,” Jeff Shi added.

The coalfield-born represented Nigeria 10 times and was a vocal member in the Super Eagles’ dressing room. Before the World Cup kicked off, the Nigerian gaffer Gernot Rohr revealed his only regret was ‘the absence of Carl.’

The Nigerian national team in respect of his contributions named him the 24th squad member at this summer’s World Cup as has become the side’s tradition since Ikeme got diagnosis with the illness.

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