By Sam Stone

27th Apr, 2022 | 4:09pm

Mark Noble insists this will be his final season at West Ham despite Champions League potential

West Ham captain Mark Noble has insisted that he will leave the club at the end of the season, even if the Hammers are competing in the Champions League next season.

The Hammers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday evening.

Despite the potential European success, Noble has made it clear that this is will be his last season at the London Stadium.

In his pre-match press conference Noble was quoted by The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas as saying: “Winning the Europa League and lifting the trophy, would I come back?

“No, that’s my honest answer and to end on that would be pretty special.”

Noble has insisted that even the prospect of Europe’s flagship competition will not alter his decision to retire.

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“If that did happen [Champions League football], I’d happily come and watch the Champions League games with the Europa League trophy on the next chair,” Noble said.

He added, “I owe it to my family and my kids to have a holiday in the summer.”

The perfect ending

To hear that Noble is sticking to his word and retiring regardless of West Ham’s success this season is something rarely seen in modern football.

We often see some of the great players prolong their careers for one extra payday, which ultimately damages their reputation.

Didier Drogba couldn’t resist returning to Chelsea after his 2012 Champions League final heroics, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has prolonged his career and even the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard were remembered for stints they had in the MLS, whilst their careers were on a decline.

If Noble was to lift the Europa League in what is his final season, then there is no better way to bow out.

He will undoubtedly be viewed as a club legend regardless of the Europa League outcome, but potentially calling it a day after what could be the greatest season in the club’s history is not a bad way to be remembered.

In other West Ham news, one key Irons star is still angry about what happened earlier in his career.

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