West Ham United v Eintracht Frankfurt
West Ham captain Mark Noble says winning the Europa League would not tempt him playing longer for his boyhood club.
The Hammers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final of the Europa League on Thursday.
But 34-year-old Noble announced in March 2021 he would retire when his contract runs out this season.
“Winning the Europa League, would I come back? No – that’s my honest answer,” said Noble.
“To end on that would be pretty special.”
Noble joined the London club aged 16 and has made 546 appearances across all competitions, with 410 matches in the Premier League making him West Ham’s top Premier League appearance-maker.
However, the midfielder admitted he didn’t think he would be captaining his side against experienced European clubs like Frankfurt, Sevilla – who they beat in the round of 16 – and Roma.
“Did I imagine it? Yes. Did I think this would happen? Probably no,” he added.
“This season for me, after announcing that this would be my last, has been special. But it’s not over yet. We’ve got an incredible game here and probably a bigger game in a week’s time.
“To be able to enjoy that with the West Ham fans, with the players and staff, is an incredible achievement. Do I think it’s possible to win? Yes.
“The fans behind us, the fans who will travel to Frankfurt, I have crossed my fingers since we beat Lyon.”
Frankfurt sit ninth in the German Bundesliga and shocked Barcelona in the quarter-final, knocking them out 4-3 on aggregate, while the Hammers beat Lyon 4-1 over two legs.
Should West Ham win the Europa League they would be granted automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League, but Noble said even that wouldn’t entice him back to the pitch.
“I was joking with the lads the other day, saying if that did happen, I’d happily come watch the Champions League games with the Europa League trophy on the next chair. But that is way down the line,” he said.
West Ham boss David Moyes hinted that defenders Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop were nearing returns to fitness, but said he would not rush any players back.