We are reaching the end of this season and, inevitably, teams around Europe and worldwide are preparing themselves for the summer transfer window. The focus for many will be on exciting prospects and young talents from around the globe. Here is a list of 13 talented African footballers who are going to be high on […]
When reflecting on the 2016/17 season, it’s important to remember more than just the trophy winners and great goals. It’s a time to look back on the legends that decided to hang up their boots at the end of the season. The football world won’t be the same without these guys.
Retired football legends 2017 – Goodbye to five greats
A rarity in modern football, the Roma talisman Francesco Totti ended a 25-year association with his beloved Roma this summer. After 619 Serie A games (a total only better by Paolo Maldini), 250 league goals, one Scudetto and a World Cup, he called it a day at the ripe old age of 40.
Serie A will be a strange place next season without Totti, who has graced its pitches since 1992. The man Diego Maradona once called “the best I have ever seen” will likely move on to become a Roma director. While he moves upstairs, his club will have a huge hole to fill on the pitch.
SEE ALSO: The impossible farewell – Why Francesco Totti deserved one last season at Roma
It might seem like a trick of the mind, but it’s true. Frank Lampard only retired this year. He called it a day in February, having elongated his career with short term spells at Manchester City and their American sister club New York City FC.
Those end-of-career sojourns won’t be remembered anywhere near as well as his thirteen trophy-laden years at Chelsea, of course. With 211 goals Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer; quite the feat for a midfielder. He could have continued his career, too, saying he turned down other offers to retire and concentrate on a media career. Lampard retires a Chelsea all-time great.
It feels like Philipp Lahm perhaps retired early, at the age of just 33. Lahm was a miraculous player, adept at playing in either full-back position and even in central midfield thanks to a late-career reinvention.
After 517 appearances for Bayern Munich and 113 for Germany, Lahm has the great distinction of having never been sent off. It’s all the more remarkable when you consider that the lawmakers of the modern game are keener than ever to crack down on potentially dangerous tackling. Lahm’s keen footballing brain meant he never needed to worry about a mistimed challenge.
Lived it. Loved it.
Farewell beautiful game. pic.twitter.com/1aSN7GGNzZ
— Xabi Alonso (@XabiAlonso) March 9, 2017
The great Xabi Alonso has called it day at the age of 35 after a career that has taken in spells at Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The enduringly classy midfielder spent his career running midfields with a quiet authority and classy use of the ball.
A trophy-laden career included two Champions League titles, a World Cup and a European Championship (among others). But, in spite of all of that, what we’ll remember most are those pinpoint passes.
Dirk Kuyt underwent a transformation in England. After Liverpool signed him from Feyenoord as an out-and-out striker in 2006, he was shunted out wide and reinvented himself as a tireless winger. He never matched his Eredivisie goal record in the Premier League, but his work ethic was always appreciated by the Anfield faithful.
He retired after a final two years back at Feyenoord, but he wasn’t prepared to go quietly into the good night. On the final game of the season – the final game of his career – Kuyt scored a hat-trick to seal the title. Now that’s how you end a career!
— Dirk Kuyt (@Kuyt) May 15, 2017
Main image credit: Anthony Manjanlahti via Flickr