Alan Hansen to leave after World Cup

Alan Hansen Alan Hansen: 'I just felt I had been looked after by the BBC'

Alan Hansen is to retire as a BBC football pundit after the 2014 World Cup, with this season his last on Match of the Day.

His current deal with the corporation expires next July and he has confirmed that he will not seek to renew it.

'I'm retiring from Match of the Day at the end of the season,' he revealed in a Daily Telegraph interview. 'I will have been there for 22 years and will be 59, so it's the right time for me.'

Hansen, a former Liverpool captain, joined the BBC in 1992, a year after he ended his trophy-laden playing career.

'I've been in football for 41 years and I'm going out right at the top,' he said.

He leaves BBC One's Match of the Day in good form as the country's most watched football programme.

Having bounced back after an audience slump a few years ago, it now attracts around 5.5m viewers.

Des Lynam and Alan Hansen Alan Hansen considers Des Lynam (left) and Gary Lineker as 'arguably two of the best'

'The thing with the BBC is that there are not a lot of people out there willing to defend it, but the viewing figures speak for themselves,' says the analyst, who often appeared alongside Mark Lawrenson on the Match of the Day panel.

Hansen also praises presenter Gary Lineker, placing him alongside Des Lynam, who presented MOTD between 1988 and 1999 as 'arguably two of the best'.

But he accepts that the competition is getting better. 'Sky are really good... they have a great line-up.'

Hansen was never tempted to jump ship, however, turning down some big money offers in the past from ITV.

'I just felt I had been looked after by the BBC,' reflects the man who also covered World and European Cups for the corporation.

'I have worked for a great organisation with wonderful people on the most fantastic programme.'

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