THE STORIES BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Abu Dhabi

London

New York

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 00:10 GMT

Top Ten Footballers Who Retired In 2019

Sport

Ahmed Ahmed

Wed, 16 Oct 2019 07:35 GMT

2019 has been an exciting year in the football world as many thrilling games have been played as well exciting young talent that has burst on the scene. On the other hand, there has also been some legends of the game that have decided to retire this year.

Here we look at ten of the best players who have hung up their boots in 2019.

Xavi


Known as the king of the tiki taka, the Spanish midfielder was one of the greatest players of his generation. He made his debut for Barcelona in 1998 and went on to have 767 appearances during a glittering 17-year career with the club. 

He won eight La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey’s, and four Champions Leagues. He also led his country to the European Championship title twice as well as helping them win their first ever World Cup in 2010.  

He left Barcelona in 2015 and played out the last years of his career in the middle east.

Wesley Sneijder


The Dutchman started his career with Ajax and made his debut in 2003 at the age of 18. He quickly established himself as one of the stars of the team and was signed by Real Madrid in 2007. 

After two seasons in Spain, he eventually joined Inter Milan, where he had his most successful spell. He was part of the side that won the treble in 2010 and spent four years at the club before joining Galatasaray, where he played for five years.

After a few short spells in Asia, he eventually retired in 2019.

Samuel Eto’o


The Cameroonian striker is arguably the greatest African player of all-time. His talent was noticed at a young age, and he ended up being signed by Real Madrid at the age of 16.

He failed to break into the first-team at the Spanish capital, and after a couple loan spells, he left to join Mallorca before eventually signing for Barcelona in 2004 at the age of 23. He formed a formidable partnership with Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi which led the Catalan side to a host of trophies

He went on to have another glittering spell at Inter Milan and played for a host of other clubs before retiring in 2019.

Arjen Robben


Robben was one of the best wingers of his generation. The Dutchman started his career with his hometown club Groningen before joining PSV Eindhoven. After two successful years at the club, he joined Premier League side Chelsea in 2004 where he went on to win two league titles and an FA-Cup in three years.

After a short spell with Real Madrid, he signed for Bayern Munich in 2009 and had a dazzling 10-year-spell. He won eight Bundesliga titles and scored the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final victory over Dortmund.

He retired in 2019 and is considered a legend by the German club.

Fernando Torres


Torres was one of the most successful players of his time. The Spanish striker won every trophy a player could and played in Europe’s top three leagues.

He will mostly be remembered for his four-year spell at Liverpool where he established himself as one of the best strikers on the planet. He scored the winning goal as Spain won Euros 2008 and went on to help them win the World Cup two years later.

Despite never reproducing his form at Liverpool and at his later clubs he will be remembered as one of the best strikers of his time

Robin Van Persie


The Dutch striker was a prodigious talent at a young age and was signed by Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004 at age of 21. His ability on the pitch was noticed by many but he constantly struggled with injury during the early part of his career. 

After eventually altering his style of play, his injury problems were gone, and he quickly became one of the best strikers in Europe. He left Arsenal to sign for Manchester United in 2012 and led the club to their 20th Premier League title in 2013.

After a short spell in Turkey, he eventually returned to his boyhood club Feyenoord in 2017 before retiring in 2019.

Petr Cech


Cech was one of the most consistent and respected goalkeepers of his generation. He started his career in the Czech League before joining French side Rennes in 2002. After two years in Ligue 1, he joined Premier League side Chelsea.

He quickly established himself as the number one keeper and helped the club win the Premier League twice in a row. He suffered a career threatening head injury in a match against Reading in 2006 but recovered returning three months later. After 11 successful years, he left to join Arsenal in 2015.

He had a successful four-year spell with the Gunners before retiring. He has won almost every club trophy there is and holds the record for most clean sheets in Premier League history.

Bastian Schweinsteiger


Schweinsteiger was one of the greatest midfielders of his era. He played for his hometown club Bayern Munich for most of his career. Known for his fantastic range of passing, he had a phenomenal work rate. He managed to win eight Bundesliga titles as well as seven DFB-Pokal titles. He also captained the side in the Champions league in 2013.

After 500 appearances, he finally left the club to join Manchester United in 2015 at the age of 31. His time in the Premier League was disappointing as he struggled to adopt to the demands of English football.

He finally left in 2017 to play out the remainder of his career in the United States with Chicago Fire.

Claudio Marchisio


Marchisio was the one of the most consistent of his time. The Italian played most of his career at his hometown club Juventus. He took advantage of the big-name departures after the club were relegated in 2006 to establish himself as a first teamer.

As Juventus were promoted back to Serie A, he was loaned out to Empoli for a season but quickly established himself as a first teamer on his return. Known for his tough tackling and tenacious play, he quickly became a fan favourite.

After several trophies and 389 appearances, he left the club for Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia in 2018 before retiring in 2019.

Andrea Barzagli


Barzagli’s talent was not noticed at a young age, and he had to work his way up the Italian football divisions. After years in the lower leagues, he joined his first Serie A side Chievo in 2003 at the age of 22.

A year later. he signed for Palermo, and after an impressive four-year spell joined German side Wolfsburg where he won the Bundesliga in his first season. He signed for Juventus in 2011 at the age of 30 where he had his most memorable spell.

He won eight Serie A titles and was part of the Italy squad that won the World Cup in 2006. He will be remembered as one of the best defenders of his era.


Europe