Robert Pires has left football fans in a state of surprise today after he confirmed his retirement at the ripe old age of 42. However, fans were not at all shocked by the decision but simply because many of them assumed he had retired long ago.
Most recently with Indian Super League outfit FC Goa, Pires has been without a club since March last year but has been spotted training with the Gunners squad at London Colney recently.
Instead of looking for a final payday in the emerging economies of the Far East, Pires has instead decided to call it a day, bringing an official end to what has been a glorious career.
"I'm 42 years old so some time must stop. We must say stop and above all must give way to young," he said on beIN Sports, quoted by L'Equipe. "My last experience was in India."
He finishes with two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a World Cup and a European Championship to his name. To make you feel old, he is also the final remaining member of France's 1998 World Cup winning squad to hang up his boots.
Naturally, Twitter is now using the announcement as a tremendous excuse to remember all of the great things Pires did throughout his career. Most of his highlights, of course, came in an Arsenal shirt where he scored 84 goals and was a crucial member of their Invincibles campaign in 2004.
While most of the reaction is positive, a fair few number of fans have questioned whether or not this is an official retirement announcement. After all, it's been nearly a year since Pires' last competitive appearance and, prior to his stint in India, he had been a free agent for three years.
There is also the case that he was already undertaking punditry duties in France and even appeared in a Global Legends event in Las Vegas last week. Needless to say, most of us had already assumed his playing days were over but it's nice to have it confirmed nonetheless.
Anyway, here is the best reaction from around the web: