With the season in its nightfall, the crying waters of happiness and sadness start to come to the fore. Managers will be sacked, players will put in transfer requests, whilst will be added to the transfer list without consent.
It’s a definitive resolution that some players and managers will not be at their current clubs next season – and it comes with a happily ever after ending. Players and managers have reached the end of the road, some young and some old, and have to say goodbye to the football community.
These are five poignant football retirees who will go out of their comfort zone at the end of the season.
5. Paul Scholes
Perhaps not as emotional as the first time, Paul Scholes exits the game for a second time after returning to action in January 2012, stating that he missed playing and also by popular demand.
Although he has struggled with fitness this season, Scholes was instrumental in the latter part of last season in resurrecting United’s faltering campaign.
The 38 year-old has a big influence in the United midfield over the years, known for his technique; one-touch passing abilities, vision, calmness on the ball even under pressure and rarely relinquishing possession.
Now that Michael Carrick has fully taken over the reins, Scholes can rest in peace knowing that he has an adequate replacement.
4. Stylian Petrov
Aston Villa’s captain announced his retirement from football earlier this week as he continues his battle against acute leukaemia. The Bulgarian international was diagnosed with the condition in March last year, but is now in remission.
Petrov had a successful career in Britain with Scottish giants Celtic and Aston Villa, recording over 500 appearances and was a firm fan favourite at both clubs.
Petrov played an integral part in Villa’s three successive top six finishes between 2008 and 2010, and was almost constantly the first name on Martin O’Neill’s team sheet. Despite his absence for the entire season, Petrov remained as Aston Villa’s club captain.
Petrov was positive about his recovery, but now emphasizes that he is lucky to be alive. Given a round of applause in Villa’s last home game against Chelsea, the humble Bulgarian is sorely missed by the struggling Villa faithful.
3. Michael Owen
Despite an injury-plagued latter career, Owen hit almost all of the back pages upon announcing his retirement earlier this year. The former Liverpool hit man will go out of the game for good at the end of a career, which has often sparkled but diminished by its natural causes.
Michael Owen burst onto the scene as a teenager at Liverpool, climbing the ladder and even above Robbie Fowler. Owen was much loved at every club he went to, scoring in four different derbies – most famously his stoppage time goal for Manchester United in the Manchester Derby in 2009.
Owen startled all defenders with his incredible pace and incisive goal scoring, which has been missed sorely by all England fans since 2005 when the injury problems began. Nevertheless, the Stoke City striker will retire at the end of the season to focus on his horses, held in the highest regard by many fans.
2. Jupp Heynckes
After months of speculation, Jupp Heynckes recently indicated he would retire at the end of the season, and he is ready to go out with a bang! The former German forward will end one of the most successful careers in football as both player and manager, having won the World Cup and European trophy in his days as a player with West Germany.
The third highest goal scorer in the Bundesliga, with a decent record at international level, Jupp Heynckes has won ten trophies as a manager, with two more beckoning before he retires. Heynckes led Real Madrid to the Champions League in 1998, and despite his significant achievement, he was sacked by the Los Galaticos.
Now in his late sixties, Heynckes hinted he would look elsewhere upon Guardiola’s arrival at Bayern Munich; however he says he will not coach in the Bundesliga again and he is too old to go abroad. The next few weeks are likely to fully accomplish a glittering football career.
1. Sir Alex Ferguson
There is nothing left on his goal-list to accomplish, and there hasn’t been for a while now! The most famous retirement in recent sport history; Sir Alex Ferguson bows out with a magnificent rapport.
Hailed as the greatest football manager in Britain, with 49 trophies to his name, one can only dream of a perfect CV such as the master’s. He calls time on his career aged over seventy and well passed his pension-age, looking at the future with his grandchildren.
Even with his age, one may get the feeling that Ferguson is retiring early – that’s due to his significant impact in the community of Manchester United. While some are called special because one assumes they are, loyalty is far beyond anything special, and tears have fallen since his announcement, and more are still to come.
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