Outgoing Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has described retiring Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher as “an artist”.
The 35-year-old brought the curtain down on his 17-year career with the Merseyside club on Sunday, featuring from the start as Brendan Rodgers’ men defeated QPR 1-0 at Anfield.
Mourinho has first-hand experience of Carragher at his peak, having seen the centre-back help Liverpool hold off his expensively assembled Chelsea team in the 2005 UEFA Champions League semi-finals before going on to win the competition.
And the 50-year-old, who has been strongly linked with a return to Stamford Bridge after it was announced he would leave Real at the end of the season, has lamented the defender’s retirement.
“Normally, the world of football cries when what they call ‘the artists’ finish their career,” he told Liverpool’s official website. “But people don’t really know what an artist is.
“For me, the artist is a guy who gives everything to his manager, to his club, to his fellow players on the pitch. And I think Jamie represents all of this.
“(These players) for me are the real artists, so when one of them finishes their career, I’m always a bit sad.”
Mourinho also praised Carragher’s attitude and claimed the defender is going out at the top having regained his place in Liverpool’s starting line-up.
“I never worked with Jamie but I played against him a dozen times and I understand what he means,” he added. “He is an artist who gave everything to his Liverpool shirt, to the fans, to every manager he ever worked with and to the players.
“But (his decision to retire) is one that he has made for the good of his family and to enjoy a different kind of life.
“He leaves on a high by showing everybody that he can keep going. I wish him and his family well.”