Legendary Players Who Got Retired In This Decade

Legendary Players Who Got Retired In This Decade

This article will tell you about some of the greatest football players who announced their retirements this decade

For a particular generation of football fans, the year 2023 will mark the end of an era, with many great players from the previous two decades putting up their boots for the final time.

Among the talented players who have retired this year are those who have won World Cups, Champions Leagues, and domestic trophies.

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Supporters who grew up with some of these names being among the best in the world will be filled with nostalgia and regret that they will never again grace a professional football ground.

These athletes’ talent is matched by their enormous personalities, with some set to be remembered fondly for decades to come.

We looked at the top ten players who have retired from football so far in 2023 and ranked them from worst to best based on their careers.

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10. Joaquin, 41

It is very impressive that the Spaniard achieved a career spanning more than two decades of top-division football before announcing his retirement at the age of 41 ahead of the end of the 2022/23 season.

Few players continue to play into their 40s, even after moving down a tier, but Joaquin began his career in La Liga with Real Betis and finished his career with the same club in the same league.

From 2013 to 2015, he played for Fiorentina in Italy, his lone stay outside of Spain, where he had played for Valencia and Malaga in between stints with Real Betis. With three Copa del Rey wins to his name, the winger was able to cap off his career with lots of happy memories.

9. Gerard Pique, 35

The former Barcelona legend announced his retirement at the age of 35 after giving the club his best years of service.

The 35-year-old, who won the Champions League three times and La Liga eight times with his boyhood club Barcelona, broke the news in a video message uploaded on social media.

“Football has given me everything,” he said. “Barcelona has given me everything. You, culers (Barcelona fans), have given me everything.

“And now that [this] kid’s dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end.”

8. Mesut Ozil, 35

Ozil is the first man on the list to have tasted considerable success on the international stage, having contributed to Germany’s World Cup victory in 2014. He was a popular figure at the Emirates at the time, having joined from Real Madrid only a year before.

The former La Liga champion enjoyed the best years of his career in England, where he won four FA Cups but fell short of capturing the Premier League.

Despite the amazing vision and passing abilities the German international had exhibited throughout his time with the Gunners, his career ended with a whimper in North London.

A quarrel with Mikel Arteta caused his departure from the club before he began two seasons in Turkey and eventually retired in 2023.

7. Cesc Fabregas, 35

Many Arsenal supporters will recall Fabregas bursting through the youth ranks to establish himself as a first-team regular, eventually becoming the club’s captain at the age of 21 in 2008.

Under Arsene Wenger, the Spaniard was a revelation, and his brilliant midfield skills won him a hefty move back to his boyhood club, Barcelona, in 2011.

Fabregas has won about every trophy imaginable in his career, including the World Cup and European Championships with Spain, as well as league titles with Barcelona and Chelsea.

In his first season back in England, he formed an excellent relationship with Diego Costa, which propelled Chelsea to the Premier League title. He announced his retirement in the summer of 2023, ending a two-year contract with Como in Serie B.

6. Sergio Aguero, 34

The former Manchester City legend announced his retirement at the age of 35 after giving the club his best years of service.

Aguero signed a two-year contract with Barcelona last season, but he only appeared in five games, scoring one goal against Real Madrid before being taken to the hospital with “chest pains” after a match against Alaves at home in October.

Aguero, also known as “Kun,” began his career at Independiente in Argentina before coming to Europe in 2006 to join Atletico Madrid. He won the Europa League with the Spanish club before moving to City in 2011.

Aguero left the Premier League club a decade later as their all-time highest scorer with 260 goals, the most memorable of which being his injury-time winner against Queens Park Rangers in May 2012, which secured the club’s first Premier League title.

He won five Premier League titles with City, as well as one FA Cup and six League Cups.

5. Franck Ribery, 39

The iconic French forward announced his retirement in October 2022. He played for France in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy and won the Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2013.

Ribéry played for a number of clubs, including Marseille and Fiorentina, but his most successful career was at Bayern Munich, where he won nine Bundesliga titles, six German Cups, and the Champions League over a 12-year period.

The French legend left Bayern on a free transfer in 2019 and spent two seasons with Fiorentina before joining Salernitana last year.

Ribery made 23 appearances for Salernitana last season but only played twice in August this season before being injured again.

4. Arjen Robben, 37

Arjen Robben, a former Netherlands forward, had called it quits following an injury-plagued comeback season with his first professional club FC Groningen.

The ex-Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Chelsea winger, 37, stated that his decision to retire was painful but practical.

Robben made an unexpected return to his boyhood club Groningen, signing a one-year contract a year after retiring with an eighth Bundesliga title under his belt at Bayern Munich.

His appearances in the Eredivisie, however, were restricted to a handful of games due to a series of injuries.

An unexpected return to form at the close of last season sparked hopes of a successful comeback, but Robben had stated that his body was no longer up to the task.

3. Eden Hazard, 32

Unfortunately, things did not work out for Hazard at Real Madrid, at least not in the way he had planned, as the Belgian only managed seven goals in 76 appearances for Los Blancos.

Injuries and fitness issues hampered him throughout his four years in Spain, but his career before to that says eloquently about the player he was at his best.

Hazard wowed fans with his amazing dribbling abilities at an early age while playing in France, with almost the entire continent vying for his signing in 2012. Chelsea won the race, and the winger went on to be worth every penny of the transfer sum paid.

Over his seven years in England, Premier League defenses were unable to cope with his ability to carry the ball and defeat a man. Hazard added end product to his game, assisting his team win two league titles and two Europa League trophies while scoring over 100 goals.

2. Gareth Bale, 34

Bale is an unusual case of a player with one of the most decorated trophy cabinets in recent memory who does not appear to be recognized by the club with which he has had so much success.

Five Champions League titles is an extraordinary achievement by any definition, and Bale was the main performance in more than one of the tournament’s finals.

His tenure in Madrid was incredibly successful, but he never seemed to feel the affection of his managers or the Spanish media.

Bale looked to enjoy his time with his national team more, as he helped Wales reach the semi-finals of the 2016 Euro tournament.

Even at Tottenham, the fans idolized the winger for his transformation into a world-class attacking powerhouse after trying to make an impression as left-back. Many expected Bale’s retirement at the age of 34, since his passion for the sport appeared to be fading.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 42

Many assumed the Swedish attacker, who was only the third player on the list to have played into his 40s, would play forever. Multiple injuries in recent years with AC Milan have brought a stop to Ibrahimovic’s amazing journey.

The 42-year-old played for prominent teams in numerous nations, including Manchester United, Barcelona, Ajax, and Juventus, demonstrating his durability at an elite level.

496 goals from 827 games in his career is a goal average better than one every two games. Maintaining such a statistic throughout the course of a 24-year career is remarkable by any standard.

If the man himself were to rank this list, he would be near the top, and it is difficult to dispute with all of the league titles he has won, with the only blemish on his record maybe being the lack of a Champions League trophy.

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