Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme announced his retirement from professional football today. The 32-year old Nigerian was diagnosed with acute leukemia last July and missed Wolves’ victorious campaign in the Championship which saw them getting promoted back to the Premier League. He made the decision after consulting medical experts.
Last month, Ikeme said that he was in complete remission following a tough year of intense chemotherapy. Wolves’ executive chairman said, “Having been at the club since the age of 14, Carl is far more than just a player in our eyes – he is our brother and an important part of our family. When Carl came to tell us his news, yes there was sadness, but also great happiness to see him so healthy and hungry for the opportunities that lay ahead of him.”
“Carl is strong, a fighter, something he has proven in his playing career and also during what has been a very challenging time for him, so I have no doubt he will be a success in whatever he does next.We wish Carl all the very best for the future, but remind him he will always remain a part of the Wolves family.”
Born and raised in England, Ikeme made his first team debut at the age of 18. Ikeme played all his career at Wolverhampton. He played a few games for Wolves during their 2008-09 season when they gained promotion to the Premier League. He also helped them win the 2013-14 League One. During his career, eight different clubs in England signed him on loan. Ikeme played a total of 274 games throughout his club career.
Carl Ikeme was eligible to play for both England and Nigeria. He eventually opted to play for the latter nation. Ikeme made his international debut against Tanzania in an African Cup of Nations qualifier. He played three matches for Nigeria during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. However, he wasn’t able to make the 23-man squad due to receiving treatment for leukemia. The Nigerian Football Federation named him an honorary ’24th’ member of the squad.