April 15, 2024

Some superstars who have played the game of football retired in 2023, leaving their fans across the globe with emotional remarks.

While some still possess the energy and age to continue on the field of play, some have waned in strength and skills.

Among those who hung their boots in the year winding up were former stars of top-flight European clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Juventus, among others.

Announcing their retirement, the players left parting words to draw the curtains on their splendid careers decorated with remarkable goals and trophies.

Here are top football stars who announced their retirement in the year 2023.

  1. Gianluigi Buffon

The former Italy goalkeeper, Buffon retired from football at the age of 45 in August, after nearly three decades of milestones of a career for both club and country.

Regarded as one of the greatest goalies of all time, Buffon won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, and manned goalposts for Parma, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), securing about 1,100 appearances, including for Azzurris.

After 28 years of astounding career, Buffon, retiring, wrote, “That’s all folks! You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together.”

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic, a former Swedish captain, who amassed more than 34 trophies in his 22-year soccer career, hung his boots in June.

The 41-year-old, during his playing days, was considered one of the most enigmatic and decorated strikers to have played the game of football for Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG, and Manchester United scoring more than 500 goals.

Announcing his departure from football in Milan, Ibrahimovic said, “The time has come to say goodbye to football.”

  1. Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas was an iconic midfield maestro for the Spanish national team and also enjoyed bossing the midfield for Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea.

Though he was renowned for making assists in his amazing 20-year high-profile career including the one against the Netherlands which earned Spain their World Cup victory in South Africa in 2010, Fabregas also scored more than 80 goals at club levels and netted 15 times for La Furia Roja.

In June, he retired at 36, saying, “With great sadness the time has come to hang up my boots. I will cherish every moment, from the early days at Barcelona, ​​Arsenal, back at the Blaugrana, Chelsea, Monaco and finally Como. From the World Cup, to the European Championships, victories in England, Spain, winning European trophies: it was a trip I will never forget.”

  1. Eden Hazard

At just 32, the Belgian and former Chelsea winger, Eden Hazard dropped a bombshell as he announced his retirement from football in October.

Hazard started his career at the French club, Lille, but had a sterling spell at Chelsea helping managers like Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, and Maurizio Sarri win trophies scoring 85 goals in 245 matches. After a disappointing stint at Real Madrid which he joined in 2019, he quit the game of soccer, having scored 126 goals in 459 games for clubs. He won two Champions League, Europa League titles, two Premier League titles, and one FA Cup among others.

The ex-Belgian skipper who had overall 33 goals in 126 appearances for his country, while retiring said, “After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer. I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.”

  1. Theo Walcott

Former Arsenal and England forward Walcott also retired at 34 in August, after an 18-year career lifting FA Cup three times with the Gunners.

In his 18-year startling period of football, Walcott scored 129 goals in 560 games for Southampton, Arsenal, and Everton, and recorded eight goals for the Three Lions, in 47 appearances.

Drawing the curtain on his career in August, Walcott said, “I’m lucky enough to have had offers to continue playing but it feels right to finish where I started and hang up my football boots. Thank you to everyone who has been with me along the way.”

  1. Mesut Ozil

The former German midfielder Ozil regarded as one of the greatest playmakers played for FC Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, and Arsenal garnering 73 goals in 427 games.

Ozil scored 23 goals in 92 games for Germany and won the World Cup with them in 2014, as well as lifting four FA Cups for Arsenal and a La Liga title with Los Blancos.

In March, Ozil retired at age 34, writing on social media, “I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredible thankful for the opportunity. But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”

  1. Gareth Bale

Bale was iconic for Tottenham and Real Madrid scoring 42 and 81 goals in 146 and 176 games respectively, as he also netted 41 times in 111 appearances for Wales.

In his 16 years of superb footballing career, Bale secured trophies including five Champions League with Real Madrid, three La Liga titles, three Spanish Super Cups, four FIFA Club World Cups, and three UEFA Super Cups.

Announcing his retirement in January, Bale said, “My decision to retire from international football has been by far the hardest of my career. My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am.”

  1. Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor was the African Player of the Year in 2008 and enjoyed playing for big European clubs including Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, and İstanbul Başakşehir, with a total of 162 goals in 448 games.

The former Togolese player last played for AC Semassi FC, a club in the city of Sokode, Togo, before announcing his retirement in March at the age of 39.

Hanging his boots in March after a 22-year incredible career, Adebayor said, “SEA, from the highs to the lows, my career as a professional athlete has been an incredible journey. Thank you to my fans for being there every step of the way. I’m feeling so grateful for everything, and excited for what’s to come!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *