Football is witnessing one of the toughest legends exoduses in recent years. The stars of our time are saying goodbye one after another. It is obviously difficult for fans to see players they have learned to love over the years hang the boots. Today, we want to take a look at seven players who have announced their retirement this year. They include;
7. Philippe Lahm- Germany
Germany and Bayern Munich legend Philippe Lahm also surprised everybody when he decided to retire earlier this year at the age of 33 years. He said it was time for him to rest because he does not think he can maintain the high standards going forward.
“I’m going to stop playing football at the end of the season,” Lahm said.
“More than a year ago I started checking and questioning myself from day to day and week to week. I’m certain I’ll maintain peak form through to the end of the season. I can manage that until the end of the campaign, but not beyond it.”
“There were talks, and in the end, I decided it’s not the right time for me to take up a new position at FC Bayern.”
The legendary fullback lifted 7 Bundesliga titles, 6 DFB-Pokals Cups, Uefa Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup with the Bavarians. He was the Captain when Germany lifted the World Cup in 2014.
6. Frank Lampard- England
Frank Lampard is the all-time Chelsea goal scorer. He represented the Blues for 13 years winning 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup titles, 2 League Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 Europa League crown. He scored 211 goals in 648 appearances for the Club. Lampard is regarded by many as one of the greatest player in the club history and among the best midfielders of his generation.
In February this year, the Premier League legend decided enough is enough and said goodbye for good.
“After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer,” Lampard said.
“The largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there.”
5. Kaka- Brazil
Former AC Milan and Real Madrid star Kaka have also half-heartedly said goodbye in Orlando City. The 35-year-old won everything available in football including Ballon d’Or award in 2007. The Brazilian was on the team that lifted World Cup 2002 and Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009. He also won Serie A and Champions League with Milan, La Liga and Copa del Rey with the Los Blancos. He waved goodbye in October this year.
“As you all know, my contract with Orlando City ends this year. My final decision is not to renew,” Kaka said.
“Today was a special day for me because the whole day kept reminding me of these past three years, everything that happened, in this city, with this club, everything. Today is just about [saying] thank you,”
“I’m going to miss you guys. I’ll be a Lion forever.”
“I asked our players for a little extra; I asked them for a favor,” Orlando City coach Jason Kreis said. “We all wanted to send [Kaká] out the right way. This was just another piece of disappointment.”
“My decision is not based on my physical condition,” Kaka said.
4. Xabi Alonso- Spain
Spain legend Xabi Alonso announced his retirement in May this year after a great career. He played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and finally Bayern Munich. The midfielder lifted La Liga and Champions League with the Los Blancos, FA Cup and Champions League with the Reds, Bundesliga and German Cup with the Bavarians. He also lifted the World Cup in 2010 and European Cup in 2008 and 2012.
“Lived it.Loved it. Farewell beautiful game,” Alonso wrote in Twitter
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe it’s the right time. I always thought it would be better to quit sooner rather than later. I still feel good, but I believe this is the right moment.
“I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level. I’m incredibly proud and happy to play for FC Bayern and to be a part of this family.
“I’ve experienced so much as a player with Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. They are all great clubs. And of course, with the Spanish national team. I never would’ve thought I’d have such a great career, and I hope there’s more to come before it ends.”
3. Francesco Totti- Italy
Italy and Roma legend Francesco Totti announced his retirement in July this year after playing his last match on 28th of May. The 41-year-old lifted Serie A in 200/01 season, 2 Coppa Italia Cups and 2 SuperCoppa Italiana Cups. The legendary winger was also on the team that lifted the World Cup in 2006.
Totti said: “The first part of my life as a football player is over and now another more important one is about to begin,” Totti wrote on his Facebook page.
“Until May 28 I only thought about playing football, having fun and making a significant contribution to the team. Now I move on, I’m turning over a new leaf.”
He played 786 matches for the Capital Club scoring a record 307 goals.
2. Xavi Hernandez- Spain
Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from football. The Spain and Barcelona legend will hang his boots at the end of this season in 2018. He currently plays in Qatar. The 37-year-old managed to get 133 caps for his country between 200 and 2014. He also helped the La Roja lift the World Cup in 2010 and 2 EURO trophies in 2008 and 2012. He also lifted 8 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League crowns.
“I’ve had luck not to be injured and I think my career has come towards its end,” Xavi told Spanish newspaper
“There’s been a descent. Qatar allowed me this. Now I see myself being more tired, it’s harder to recover, it will surely be my last year of being a footballer.
“I have the idea of getting my coaching license next year and being a coach.”
1. Andrea Pirlo- Italy
Italian football legend Andrea Pirlo has officially announced his retirement from the game. He played his final match for New York City FC. The 38-year-old started his career at Brescia before joining Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Juventus. He switched to Major League Soccer 2-years ago.
Pirlo said: “Not only is it my adventure in New York comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well,”
“Every team that I had the honor to play for and every team-mate that I have been pleased to play alongside, I thank you”.
The midfield maestro was in the Milan team that lifted 2 Serie A titles, 2 Champions Leagues crowns and a Club World Cup between 2003 and 2011. He was also on the team that lifted 2006 World Cup in Germany.