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Gone Too Soon: The Footballers Who Retired Too Early

October 19, 2015

- Grant Whittington

 

Whether it’s through injury, aging limbs, trouble getting first team football, or simply just exhaustion there are many reasons for professional football players to give up the game for good, at least in a playing capacity. As footballers age they become more accustomed to watching injuries and carefully keeping a closer eye on any particular niggles or repetitive problems they may face. But there are definitely a number of famous names from the footballing world who we believe could have continued on.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

French football star Zinedine Zidane hung up his boots at the age of 34 following that unfortunate and unforgettable incident that occurred in the 2006 World Cup Final when France took on Italy. In the 110th minute of the game Zidane was handed a red card after the Frenchman headbutted Italian centre-half Marco Materazzi. He was an incredible presence in any team he played for and he certainly had a couple more seasons in him.

ALAN SHEARER

Stepping outside of the domestic league there are plenty of superb England internationals who finished playing for their country all too soon. Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer retired from his international career at the tender age of 29 and had ironically managed to score 30 goals during his England playing days. The Euro 2000 tournament was his last appearance and he left quite the hole in the England attacking line-up for some time after.

ERIC CANTONA

At just 30 years of age Manchester United legend Eric Cantona decided to call it a day. The Frenchman’s legacy still lives on at Old Trafford and he certainly left the club at his peak ensuring that this legacy stayed strong even after all these years on. His abilities and creativity on the ball were outstanding and his off pitch antics and enigmatic personality kept him as a particularly interesting character for the sport.

PAUL SCHOLES

One of the greatest midfielders that this country has ever produced has got to be ex-Manchester United player Paul Scholes. Between 1993 and 2011 he made more than 460 appearances for the club and helped them to achieve 11 Premier League titles as well as two Champions League titles. Scholes left the beautiful game at the age of 36 following the announcement of his retirement. However he did former manager Alex Ferguson – a man who described him as one of only four world class players he’d coached –  a favour by showing up to play for just one more season just 8 months later to help cover the clubs various injury issues at the time.

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