Hyypiä in 2012
|Full name||Sami Tuomas Hyypiä|
|Date of birth||7 October 1973|
|Place of birth||Porvoo, Finland|
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|2014||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|2020-||FC Haka (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Hyypiä began his playing career with Ykkönen side Kumu and soon moved to Veikkausliiga outfit MyPa. He spent four years at the club, helping them win the Finnish Cup in 1992 and 1995. He moved to Willem II in 1995 and spent the next four years there. He became the team captain and was nominated their player of the year after helping them qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
In 1999, he moved to Liverpool, the team he supported as a child, in a deal worth £2.6 million. He quickly established himself in the first team, partnering Stéphane Henchoz in defence. By 2001, he regularly captained the team and that season Liverpool won a slew of honours, completing a cup treble of the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, in addition to winning the UEFA Super Cup and FA Community Shield. He became first choice captain in the 2001-02 season and was part of the Football League Cup-winning team in 2003. Steven Gerrard superseded him as captain in 2003, but Hyypiä still occasionally captained the side in his absence. Hyypiä won his highest football honour in 2005 as part of Liverpool's victorious 2004-05 Champions League campaign, where his defensive partnership with Jamie Carragher helped them win in the final. During his ten years in Merseyside, he became a fan favourite and remains a popular figure at the club. From 2009 to 2011, Hyypiä played for German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he retired as a player in 2011.
Hyypiä was a prominent figure in the Finland national team and was selected as the Finnish Sports' Journalists and Football Association Player of the Year numerous times. He made his debut in 1992 and, with 105 caps before retiring in 2010, is the country's second most capped Finnish player after Jari Litmanen.
From the 2012-13 season, he returned to Bayer Leverkusen as its full team manager. After two successful seasons in the Bundesliga, he returned to English football in 2014 for a brief spell as manager of second-tier club Brighton & Hove Albion. From August 2015 to May 2016, he was manager of Swiss club FC Zürich.
Hyypiä was born in Porvoo and raised in Kuusankoski, Finland, 100 miles (160 km) north-east of Helsinki, the son of Irma and Jouko Hyypiä. Hyypiä's parents were both footballers - his father Jouko played for Finnish team Pallo Peikot, while his mother played as an amateur goalkeeper. Although the young Sami played ice hockey, one of the more popular sports in Finland, his parents' influence was important in him choosing a career in football; he later commented, "I guess there was only one career option for me."
Hyypiä started his career with Pallo-Peikot, where he played every position except his final position of defender and KuMu, before joining Veikkausliiga club MyPa for the 1992 season. He won the Finnish Cup with MyPa in 1992, when Jari Litmanen was one of his teammates, and again in 1995.
In 1995, at the age of 22, he went for a trial at Newcastle United, his first taste of English football. Hyypiä said, "They [Newcastle] certainly helped my career. I had a two-week trial in 1995 under Kevin Keegan and it gave me an insight into English football. I was a young player in Finland and I didn't really expect it to lead to anything. I just went for the experience, but it was good experience and I enjoyed my time there. It helped me a lot at the time to see a big English club at close hand and I always look forward to going back."
Later that year, Hyypiä joined Dutch club Willem II and spent four years with the Eredivisie team, soon becoming a favourite with the fans and winning their player of the year award in his final season. Hyypiä captained the side to qualification for the UEFA Champions League, thus earning a place in the hearts of supporters although he would not be taking part in the campaign.
In May 1999, Hyypiä was signed by Liverpool, the team he supported as a boy, for £2.6 million, having been recommended to former chief executive Peter Robinson by a TV cameraman. Initially, Hyypiä was regarded as an unknown who would not live up to expectations, but this preconception was dismissed when he immediately formed a successful central defensive partnership with fellow arrival Stéphane Henchoz. Almost ten years later in a farewell tribute to Hyypiä, Ron Yeats, then the chief scout for Liverpool, commented that the deal was "one of the best bits of business we've done over the years... a steal - a bargain..." Fourteen years on, Hyypiä himself told the BBC that joining Liverpool was a dream come true. In the 2000-01 season, Hyypiä shared the captaincy of Liverpool with Robbie Fowler while Jamie Redknapp, the full-time captain, was suffering from a long-term injury. During that season, Hyypiä and Fowler led the team to a cup treble: the Football League Cup,FA Cup and UEFA Cup. He also went on to claim a "treble" of three consecutive FAF Finnish Footballer of the Year awards from 2001-03.
In 2002, Hyypiä became first choice Liverpool captain after Redknapp, who had been blighted by long-term injuries, and Fowler both left the club. However, after such a bright start to his Liverpool career came a relative lull and in 2003, Hyypiä was replaced as Liverpool captain by Steven Gerrard. With some of the pressure lifted, his performances generally improved.
On 5 April 2003, Hyypiä received a red card against Manchester United, the only red of his club career. "[Ruud] Van Nistelrooy was going through and maybe I took his shirt a little bit. The referee thought so. I got a straight red card. They got a penalty. It was an agony to watch the game in the dressing room. The only red card of my career. You remember that sort of thing."
In 2004, new Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez moved Jamie Carragher from fullback to partner Hyypiä in central defence. This seemingly reinvigorated Hyypiä and the team went on to have a successful season, winning the 2004-05 Champions League on the back of their solid defence. On 10 August 2005, it was reported that Hyypiä had agreed to a new three-year contract after weeks of talks with the Reds which would keep him at Anfield until 2008.
During the 2005-06 season, Hyypiä was relegated to third-choice captain after Jamie Carragher's ascent as Gerrard's deputy on the field. In the FA Cup Sixth Round against Birmingham City, he scored the opening goal in the first minute as the Reds thrashed the home team 7-0. He started in the victorious 2006 FA Cup Final against West Ham United, though he missed his spot kick in the penalty shoot-out. During the season, he climbed into the top 25 in the club's all-time appearances table after featuring in the League Cup against Arsenal in January 2007.
Despite speculation in the summer of 2007 linking him to various other Premier League teams, Hyypiä insisted that he would stay at Liverpool for the remainder of his contract. On 25 August 2007, Hyypiä broke his nose during an away match against Sunderland in the Stadium of Light. He quickly returned on the pitch to play against Toulouse in the Champions League qualifying match on 28 August 2007, in which he scored the second goal for Liverpool while wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
In April 2008, Hyypiä signed a new deal until summer 2009, with Benítez stating he is a good role model for young defenders such as Martin ?krtel and Daniel Agger. The 2008-09 season marked the defender's tenth season at the club. On 22 August 2008, Premier League newcomers Stoke City offered £2.5 million for Hyypiä, but Liverpool rejected the offer. On 2 March 2008, with his appearance against Bolton Wanderers, Hyypiä made it into the top 20 Liverpool player appearances of all-time.
Hyypiä was voted in 19th place in Sky Sports' "Top 50 Premier League Foreign Players", 45th in FourFourTwo magazine's 100 Greatest Foreign Players and 38th in Liverpool's 100 Players Who Shook the Kop survey. Underlining the important role Hyypiä had fulfilled at Liverpool, Ian Rush noted, "He's got to be up there with the best signings the club has ever made."
In September 2008, Hyypiä was not included in the 25-man Liverpool squad for the group stages of the Champions League, as new UEFA regulations meant that clubs had to include at least eight home-grown players in their squad.
On 4 May 2009, it was announced that Hyypiä had signed two-year contract with German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. Liverpool had offered him the chance to stay at Anfield in a coaching capacity, but Hyypiä decided to carry on playing, though he expressed interest in returning to Liverpool as a coach once his playing career concluded.
Hyypiä played his last match for Liverpool at Anfield against Tottenham Hotspur on 24 May 2009, coming on as a substitute to replace captain Steven Gerrard after 84 minutes in their 3-1 win. Gerrard passed the captain's armband to him, personally putting it onto Hyypiä's arm. During what remained of the match, Hyypiä managed to get a header from a corner kick in the dying minutes of the game, but the attempt was blocked by Heurelho Gomes. After the match ended, an emotional Hyypiä received a standing ovation from Liverpool fans and his teammates held him aloft. Hyypiä made 464 appearances and scored 35 goals, winning ten trophies in the ten years he was at Liverpool. As of 2021, he is the only ever captain in Liverpool history to not be from the British Isles.
Hyypiä moved to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen during summer 2009, making his official debut on 8 August against Mainz 05. On 24 January 2010, he scored his first Bundesliga goal in a 3-0 win over 1899 Hoffenheim. Hyypiä's first season with Bayer Leverkusen saw his club finishing fourth overall, missing by two points the qualification round for the 2010-11 Champions League campaign. German sports magazine kicker chose Hyypiä as best Bundesliga defender in 2009, and he was included Bundesliga Team of the Year for 2009-10.
After Roy Hodgson was appointed as the new Liverpool manager in August 2010, rumours began to circulate that he was determined to bring Hyypiä back to Liverpool. However, the transfer fell through as reportedly Hodgson could not get Hyypiä out of his contract with Leverkusen. On 25 September 2010, Hyypiä scored his third ever Bundesliga goal with a header against VfB Stuttgart in a 4-1 win.
Hyypiä was capped 27 times by the Finland national under-21 team. He made his debut for the senior team against Tunisia on 7 November 1992 at the age of 19. He went on to be a key member of the Finnish squad, participating in five UEFA European Championship and four FIFA World Cup qualifiers. In a friendly against Sweden on 12 August 2009 he became one of four Finnish national team players ever to reach milestone of 100 international appearances. Hyypiä succeeded Jari Litmanen as captain of the Finnish national team in 2008. He was given a straight red card in his penultimate match for a 36th-minute foul on Viorel Frunza as Finland lost 2–0 away to Moldova in a qualifier. His last appearance for national team was against Hungary in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier on 12 October 2010, a 1-2 home defeat.
Hyypiä became part of the coaching staff for both Finnish national team and Bayer Leverkusen. He started a coaching formation at the Football Association of Finland. In October 2011, Hyypiä was in Leverkusen for six weeks as a trainee with the club's then-head coach, Robin Dutt. On 1 April 2012, Hyypiä and under-19 coach Sascha Lewandowski were named as caretaker coaches of Leverkusen after the sacking of Dutt. On 15 May 2012, Hyypiä was confirmed as team manager and Lewandowski as head coach of Bayer Leverkusen until the summer of 2015. In an unusual managerial set-up, both are equally responsible for leading Bayer Leverkusen: as Lewandowski has the training licence, he had to be at post-match press conferences and took care of the training sessions. Meanwhile, Hyypiä watched them, intervened with personal talks and was at the pre-game press conferences. Despite his imperfect grasp of the German language, Hyypiä addressed the team before matches. This system proved successful: in the middle of the 2012-13 season, Leverkusen was second in the Bundesliga, were the only side to beat Bayern Munich at home and qualified for the next round in the Champions League, and the DFB-Pokal. Bayer Leverkusen ended the 2012-13 season in third place behind the champions Bayern and runners-up Borussia Dortmund. Hyypiä became the sole head coach after Lewandowski went back to work with the youth development department.
Hyypiä's first training session as the sole head coach occurred on 24 June 2013. Bayer Leverkusen ended the 2013-14 season in fourth place, behind Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. On 5 April 2014, Hyypiä was sacked by Bayer Leverkusen with immediate effect after the club lost to Hamburger SV the night before.
On 6 June 2014, Hyypiä was officially named manager of Football League Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion, signing a three-year contract. His reign as Brighton boss started with two successive 1-0 defeats, before tasting victory in his third game in charge. Results were poor, and on 22 December 2014, with the team in the relegation zone, Hyypiä offered his resignation as manager after a 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers; Brighton chairman Tony Bloom announced that Hyypiä's resignation was reluctantly accepted. Hyypiä's decision to step down came after his side only managed one win in their previous 18 games, with the club securing six victories in his 26 in charge, three of which came in cup ties.
On 21 August 2015, Hyypiä was officially announced as the manager of the Swiss Super League club FC Zürich. On 12 May 2016, Hyypiä was sacked as coach of Zürich after he had lost a vote of no confidence in the team. He left the club in last place with three rounds before the end of the season; Zürich were ultimately relegated to the Swiss second division, the Swiss Challenge League.
|Season||Club||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Finland national team|
|1.||9 October 1999||Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki||Northern Ireland||2-1||4-1||Euro 2000 qualifier|
|2.||12 October 2002||Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki||Azerbaijan||3-0||3-0||Euro 2004 qualifier|
|3.||12 February 2003||Windsor Park, Belfast||Northern Ireland||1-0||1-0||Friendly|
|4.||7 June 2003||Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki||Serbia and Montenegro||1-0||3-0||Euro 2004 qualifier|
|5.||11 October 2006||Almaty Central Stadium, Almaty||Kazakhstan||2-0||2-0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|Bayer Leverkusen1||1 April 2012||24 June 2013||51||29||11||11||56.9|||
|Bayer Leverkusen2||24 June 2013||5 April 2014||41||21||4||16||51.2|||
|Brighton & Hove Albion||6 June 2014||22 December 2014||26||6||10||10||23.1|||
|Zürich||21 August 2015||12 May 2016||30||9||10||11||30.0|||
Hyypiä is married and has two children. He lives with his family near Pulheim near Cologne, where he has an English second home because of his activity as a trainer at Brighton & Hove Albion. Hyypiä has set up a fund to help young promising athletes of his native Finland. As part of his efforts to raise funds, he participated in the Helsinki City Marathon, his first ever, on 20 August 2011, completing the course in a time of 3:56:09.
Off the pitch, Hyypiä is generally a private person and, although his wife has been occasionally seen at his matches, their children rarely appear in public.