Tearful Liverpool legend chokes up on air as he unveils emotional story behind sudden Sky Sports exit

Graeme Souness struggled to hold back the tears as he appeared on BBC Breakfast with 14-year-old Isla Girst to announce a special fundraising challenge.

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Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has unveiled his moving reason for leaving his post as a Sky Sports pundit earlier this year.

The star will swim the English Channel on June 18 to raise money to help people living with the rare skin disorder Epidermolysis bullosa after striking up an emotional friendship with 14-year-old Isla Girst.

Souness appeared on BBC Breakfast on Monday to announce the 21-mile challenge alongside the teenage girl and struggled to hold back the tears as he explained his motivation for taking on the task - which Isla's dad Andy will take on alongside the Reds legend.

A choked-up Souness said: "Isla is the most unique human being I ever met, and she does this to me every time [make emotional], she's an inspiration to me even at my age.

"Football does its bit for charity. Players are much maligned, much criticised, but football does its bit. Throughout my life, I've had the good fortune to spend time with people who have not been very well. I knew nothing about this disease. This disease is the cruellest."

The star, with tissue in hand, then had to take a moment to compose himself as he struggled to speak while overcome with emotion.

He continued: "Excuse me, I knew this would happen. It's the cruellest, nastiest disease out there that I know of.

"For someone so young to be so brave, Isla is aware of the impact this has on her mum and dad and she helps them. This is a very special young lady you're in the company of and she gets me in tears every time I'm in her company."

Graeme Souness spent six years at Liverpool (Image: Getty Images)Graeme Souness spent six years at Liverpool (Image: Getty Images)
Graeme Souness spent six years at Liverpool (Image: Getty Images)

Souness and Andy will raise money for Debra's "A Life Free of Pain" appeal, which strives to pay to clinically test drug treatments that could improve the quality of life for people with Dystrophic Recessive Epidermolysis Bullosa. The football legend hopes to raise at least £1.1 million as a nod to the number 11 he wore on the football field.

The condition is also known as 'butterfly skin' which the Great Ormond Street Hospital explains can cause "extremely fragile, often with extensive blistering and wounds". People like Isla, who live with butterfly skin, are often wrapped head to toe in bandages which are painfully changed multiple times a week.

Earlier this year, Souness announced his departure from Sky Sports as he had 'a lot of things coming up'.

The star said: "I'm going to miss you guys, the guys behind the scenes, our make-up girl, I'll miss you all. You know, for me, I decided that football management wasn't for me any more. I had the wrong temperament for it, the wrong personality.

"And then I was given the opportunity to do this and it's been magnificent. It's just been the most fantastic time for me, because I love football, I care about football and I worry about it going forward.

"But in Sky's hands it's in good hands, safe hands, and I think over the years we've created a Premier League with great detail and I think we look after football very well

"And it's great right now to be amongst friends and nothing goes on forever, but I've got a lot of things coming up, I'm involved in my DEBRA charity and on the 27th of this month I'll announce the challenge I'm getting involved in."