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Former Danish international midfielder Thomas Gravesen has called time on his playing career after "12 fantastic years" in top-class football.

'The right thing to do'
Gravesen, who will be 33 in March, has decided to hang up his boots after being without a club since he was released from his contract at Celtic FC last summer. "I have had 12 fantastic years playing football in four different countries, and if I could, I would do it all again. But I have accepted that it is the right thing for me to end my career, before age and possible poor health force me to do so," said the veteran of 66 senior appearances for Denmark, including key roles for his country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004â„¢.

Although Gravesen had been linked with a return to his original club, Superligaen side Vejle BK, the player's agent John Sivebæk explained that "it would have taken a lot for Thomas to get back to his top level". Gravesen had two seasons with his home-town team Vejle between 1995 and 1997 before spending three years in the Bundesliga at Hamburger SV. Everton FC brought him to the English Premier League following UEFA EURO 2000™ and he remained at Goodison Park until Real Madrid CF's surprise move for his services in January 2005.

In all, the Dane had 18 months in the Spanish capital before Celtic FC took him to Scotland, where he won the league championship in 2007. However, Gravesen was deemed surplus to requirements in Glasgow and he rejoined Everton on loan last term, taking his appearance record for the Merseysiders to 149 top-flight games. His final match was Everton's 3-1 win against Newcastle United FC on 11 May.
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