Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme announces retirement after battling with cancer
Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July 2017, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.
The Nigeria international has been with the Molineux club for his whole career, making more than 200 appearances.
In June, Ikeme said he was in “complete remission” after “a tough year and intense chemotherapy”.
“Thank you for the support over the years,” he posted on social media on Friday.
“My last day as a footballer but one I am happy and grateful for. Thanks to everyone to do with Wolves and everyone in football I have met.”
Ikeme’s decision to retire has come after consulting medical experts and he told his team-mates on Tuesday.
“The doctor suggested I should retire after the toll the treatment has taken on my body. I can’t really risk trying to come back,” he told the Wolves website.
“My health is my main thing. I just want to be here for my children, family and friends. In the grand scheme of things, with your life in danger, it’s a minimum price I have to pay to spend the rest of my time with my family.
“I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.”
In a statement, Wolves chairman Jeff Shi 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,” said Shi.
Ikeme joined the West Midlands club – who won the Championship last season to earn promotion to the Premier League – as a 14-year-old.
He was a regular when Wolves won League One in 2014 and played 10 times for Nigeria, who honoured him at this summer’s World Cup by naming him as their 24th squad member.
The Super Eagles were knocked out at the group stage in Russia and before the tournament their coach Gernot Rohr said: “My biggest regret is the absence of Carl.”