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Rediff.com  » Sports » Campbell to leave Arsenal

Campbell to leave Arsenal

July 09, 2006 20:57 IST

England central defender Sol Campbell is leaving Arsenal after five years at the Premier League club.

Campbell arrived in 2001 from north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and played 197 games for the Gunners, winning two league titles and three FA Cups.

In a statement on Saturday, the 31-year-old said he wanted a "fresh challenge" and hinted he would go abroad.

Campbell suffered a torrid 2005-06 season due to injury and personal problems. He stormed out of Highbury at halftime during a match against West Ham United in February after being responsible for two first-half goals by the visitors.

He was then out for 10 weeks with a series of minor injuries before returning to the side in time for the Champions League final against Barcelona when he scored in a 2-1 defeat.

"It is with a sense of pride, achievement and the desire for a fresh challenge that I depart," Campbell said.

"Playing abroad is something that would really interest me but at the moment I am keeping all of my options open."

Campbell was in England's World Cup squad but was second choice behind John Terry and Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence.

"Sol has been a giant for us since his arrival in 2001," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"His desire and presence have been instrumental to our success over the past five years but we respect his decision to move on and, of course, we are very sorry to see him go."

 

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