Hansen has been on BBC’s expert football panel for 22 years and now the former Liverpool captain has chosen not to look for a new contract when his current deal expires next July.
The 58-year-old, who reportedly earns £40,000 an episode for the corporation, has been a leading figure in their football coverage since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.
Despite nearly quitting three years ago, Hansen is now certain that he has picked the perfect time to leave the role and to turn to his golf clubs.
“I’m retiring from Match of the Day at the end of the season,” Hansen said. “I will have been there for 22 years and will be 59, so it’s the right time for me.
“The guys at the BBC know me and I said, ‘Look, this is categorical. I’m leaving and nothing will make me change my mind’. I am contracted to do the World Cup and I will do that as it will be a good way to go out, but I have had a great run.
“I’ve been in football for 41 years and I’m going out right at the top, just as I did at Liverpool. The plan was always that I would retire at 55. I kept going, but I finally decided to retire during Euro 2012.
“I had just signed a two-year contract and felt that, by the end of it, I would have had enough. But I have worked for a great organisation with wonderful people on the most fantastic programme.”
After rejecting rival offers from Sky Sports and ITV – and even the opportunity to manage Manchester City, according to the Daily Telegraph – Hansen has now confirmed that this season will be his last.
“Sky came in for me when Andy Gray nearly left to take the Everton job, almost 20 years ago,” Hansen told the Telegraph. “I was under contract at the BBC, so turned it down, but there were four occasions after that when I had big offers from ITV.
“They came to me in 2006, just before I signed the biggest contract of my life at the BBC, and offered me fortunes. I was absolutely amazed by what they offered me, but I just felt I had been looked after by the BBC.
“I also turned down Manchester City in 1995 after Brian Horton was sacked, simply because I never wanted to be a manager. Francis Lee, who was chairman at the time, phoned me up and said he thought I would have fancied it, but while I told him I was flattered, I just said I wasn’t interested in managing a football club.
Match of the Day has been criticised for being stale and tired in recent years, but Hansen believes the show does not deserve any of it.
“There has definitely been a sea-change, because five or six years ago, it was dead,” he said. “We were still doing the job, but the viewing figures were plummeting.
"I’m not saying they would not have kept it going, but there was certainly concern over the viewing figures."
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