After so many great players have retired from the game over the last twelve months, we put together a team of these golden oldies.
Manager – Sir Alex Ferguson
Who else but the most successful British manager of all time? The Scot enjoyed trophies so much at Aberdeen in the early 80’s that he moved south of the border, and won 38 of them with Manchester United, over a quite remarkable 26 years. We’re unlikely to see such a tenure again.
Goalkeeper – Cesar Sanchez
The Spanish goalkeeper retired last summer after making over 400 appearances in La Liga, earning him the goalkeeping jersey in light of little competition from other top level retired goalkeepers. Made a solitary appearance for Tottenham in a League Cup match in 2008.
Defence – Ryan Nelsen
The New Zealander took his retirement early to take a role as head coach at MLS club Toronto FC. Nelsen swapped a relegation fight at QPR with his maiden managerial job in Canada, and his absence was keenly felt as Rangers went on to finish bottom of the Premier League.
Defence - Ledley King
The first of three one-club legends in this team, sadly Ledley King made significantly less appearances than any other player in the team. Has gone on to take an ambassadorial role at Tottenham.
Defence – Jamie Carragher
Of all the players in the team, arguably Carragher retired closest to the top of his game, having reclaimed his form and position in a Liverpool team that finished the season strongly. Second in his club’s appearance list.
Midfield - David Beckham
One of the most famous footballers of all time hung up his boots this week, doing so in style as he won Ligue 1 to make it four different countries he has won titles in, a record for an Englishman. A true footballing icon.
Midfield – Stylian Petrov
The Aston Villa midfielder retired from football after heroically battling leukaemia all season. The club captain is a hero at Villa Park, where the fans clap his name every 19th minute, Petrov’s old number.
Midfield - Paul Scholes
The Salford born midfielder goes down as one of the greatest ever Manchester United midfielders, which, in a period where they were the most successful team in English history says a lot. Has already come back from retirement once, an injury hit season this year means it is unlikely he will do so again.
Midfield – Mark van Bommel
The Dutch destroyer won titles in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany, before heading back to Holland for a final season with old club PSV Eindhoven. In typical fashion, saw red in his last game as a professional for two yellow cards.
Forward – Michael Owen
For so long it looked like Michael Owen was destined to break England’s goal scoring record, scoring 40 goals by the time he turned 28 in 2007. However, just one more cap would more follow, and Owen would struggle to hit the heights of his earlier career. There would be the occasional magical moment though, such as the winner in the Manchester derby in 2009.
Forward – Andriy Shevchenko
The greatest Ukrainian footballer of all time retired last summer, after leading his national team on their own turf at Euro 2012. A difficult time in England with Chelsea shouldn’t overshadow the fact that at AC Milan and Dynamo Kiev, Shevchenko was one of the best strikers in the world.
Forward – Filippo Inzaghi
A player Sir Alex Ferguson claimed “must have been born offside”, such was his ability to play off the last defender, Pippo Inzaghi was a natural goalscorer who found the back of the net throughout his career. The second highest goalscorer in European football, he retired after scoring the winning goal for Milan in his final ever match.
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