FORMER Ireland international Stephen Carr has called time on his career at the age of 36 as he plans a move to Spain to start a career in business.
The Donaghmede native played for Ireland 44 times and also starred for Tottenham, Newcastle United and Birmingham City but he has been struggling with injury for some time, having made his last appearance for Birmingham over a year ago, and has now decided to quit.
Carr had previously planned to retire in 2008 after leaving Newcastle and had moved home to Dublin – the then St Pats boss Jeff Kenna tried to bring Carr to Richmond Park – but the defender opted to give his career another go and had a successful spell at Birmingham, captaining them to a League Cup win and winning promotion to the Premier League.
But he maintains that this time he has quit for good. "I am going on 37 and now is the time to bow out," he said. "I felt OK in pre-season but unfortunately my knee just crumbled away. It was unfortunate for me and the club. We knew there was a chance something could happen, but we didn't think it would be that early. It just wasn't meant to be in the end.
"There was always a very slight chance I could come back from what the surgeon had told me. Three ops in 18 months on the knee – it was telling me it had had enough, basically.
"The last time I stopped playing I was 31 and it was because I couldn't get a club. This time it's different.
"If I was 31 again, I'd be very disappointed but it was lucky I got back into the game and had a couple of great years here, which I thoroughly enjoyed and never saw happening when I originally finished. So there's a lot of highs that came with it.
"Obviously we had the low point of getting relegated and then since that it has just gone slowly downhill for me, injuries have just picked up.
"I am 37 in August and I've had a good innings in the end. My knee has lasted out quite well but it comes to the stage where enough is enough with it," added Carr.
"I'll be heading off to Spain for a few years and see how it goes. I'm involved with Sala Group Holdings who run two restaurants in Marbella, the beach club on the front and we've got a nightclub, which was opened last year," he says.
"It's getting bigger and bigger and we're hoping to move that abroad. We're speaking in Dubai at the moment about getting premises out there. We just want to keep getting the brand bigger and bigger and hopefully I can help them promote it.
"I want something different in my life and something different the kids can experience as well."