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Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2016, 10:38:50 PM »
Former Mexico Int’l Sabah retires
CONCACAF.com


GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- After a 15-year career of 392 games and 139 goals in Mexico, Miguel Sabah announced his retirement from professional football at a press conference on Tuesday [January 5].

“Today, it hurts me to make this decision, but age does not forgive,” said Sabah, a 17-time capped Mexico international. “It was not easy to make this decision. I thank my family, my parents.”

The 36-year-old was released by Leon after the 2015 Liga MX Clausura and was not picked up by another club. His place in CONCACAF history, though, is firmly assured.

In 2009, Sabah was the top scorer in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, netting four goals to help Mexico earn a sixth title in the competition. His 10th minute strike in a 1-1 draw with Panama was the 500th goal in CONCACAF Gold Cup history.

Weeks later, Sabah injected new life into the Tricolor’s uneven qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Shortly after entering an August 12 game as a late substitute against the visiting United States, he broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 82nd minute to give the host a much-needed three points.

Sabah, who notched five career Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League goals, made his professional debut with Guadalajara in 2001, eventually going on to play for Cruz Azul (2006-08), Morelia (2009-12), before returning to Chivas in December 2012.

He joined Leon in November 2013, where he was part of the 2014 Clausura title-winning squad.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2016, 10:11:45 PM »
Croatia international striker Ivica Olić retires from the national team
Croatian Football Federation


On Wednesday, 36-year-old Ivica Olić decided to say goodbye to the national team.

"Saying goodbye to Croatian jersey is a very emotional moment for me. Croatia was always above everything else. That will not change, and I wish my national team a lot of success this summer in France. I will be Croatia's biggest fan", said Olić in an open letter.

Throughout his club career, Olić proved himself at Posavec, Marsonia, Zagreb and Dinamo in Croatia, Hertha Berlin, HSV, Bayern and Wolfsburg in Germany, and CSKA Moscow in Russia.

Olić retires with 104 caps and 20 goals for Croatia, including the World Cup strikes against Italy in 2002 and Cameroon in 2014, which secured him a place in World Cup history books.

The tireless striker remains a symbol for relentless effort in the national team jersey, a player who gave everything in every single match - and had a magnificent career he truly deserved.


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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2017, 06:44:01 PM »
Canada's Julian de Guzman announces retirement, joining Ottawa Fury as an assistant coach
By Kurt Larson, Toronto Sun.






Canada's Julian de Guzman during a friendly against Brazil in Seattle, Washington.

A lock box contains relics of Julian de Guzman’s storied past.

The Canadian midfielder says its contents are proof of a football career he didn’t think was possible.

“I made sure I got a jersey every game,” de Guzman told the Sun ahead of Monday’s news conference revealing his retirement.

“I can pull out Zinedine Zidane’s jersey. All the top players, I can pull them out (at my bank) and say, ‘Yeah, I actually played against that guy.’ ”

The 35-year-old added: “I knew what I was going through.”

Back home, many didn’t. While de Guzman was trail-blazing through Europe, the Lou Marsh Trophy was being awarded to anyone else. In his prime, de Guzman helped lead Spanish side Deportivo de La Coruna to a place in Europe and a stunning win over Real Madrid.

Regardless, de Guzman’s storied career remains largely untold. “There aren’t many who can understand,” de Guzman added. He refers to it as a “rare Canadian story” — one that reveals how a teenager from Toronto debunked naysayers to eventually become one of the most accomplished footballers in Canadian history.
 
‘NEXT THING I KNEW’

While attending Cardinal Newman high school in the late 1990s, de Guzman researched playing overseas. “I heard examples of Canadian guys who’d gone to Europe and never made it,” de Guzman said.

A standout with North Scarborough SC, de Guzman’s first trial in Holland ended rather quickly in 1996.

“I had to prove to my parents I was responsible enough to go back overseas by getting good grades,” he reminisced.

Upon returning to Canada, de Guzman was spotted by scouts from Marseille — his second chance at an overseas deal.

So he packed up his things and headed to France’s south port, where he learned first-hand that Canadian footballers may as well be extraterrestrials.

“They weren’t sure why I was there,” de Guzman recalled. “It took them three months to figure out who I was, but it turned out to be a tryout and I did well.”

It afforded him the opportunity to stay with Marseille’s under-17s before the club’s academy director eventually broke the news.

“They told me to go back to Canada because soccer wasn’t for Canadians,” de Guzman remembered. Just thankful for the opportunity, a “disappointed” de Guzman turned his attention to Canada’s under-20 national team.
Amid a training camp in nearby Germany, de Guzman impressed scouts from Saarbrucken to the extent they signed him to a two-year amateur deal.

While the money wasn’t good — roughly $1,000 per month — they offered de Guzman a house and car, “which was great,” he said.

By the following year, de Guzman had graduated to Saarbrucken’s first team, doubling his salary.

No stranger to road blocks, though, he again ran into issues when Saarbrucken sacked its head coach almost immediately.

“The new coach (ex-U.S. international Thomas Dooley) came in and only wanted experienced players,” de Guzman explained. He found himself back with Saarbrucken’s reserves for six months before Dooley — facing relegation — turned back to his young guys.

Relegation spurred free agency for de Guzman — and he didn’t have to wait long before someone came knocking. The head scout at newly promoted Hannover 96 happened to be the assistant coach Saarbrucken sacked earlier that season.

De Guzman quickly came to terms with Hannover before making his Bundesliga debut four games into that season. His first start arrived soon after.

“I didn’t know until the day of the game,” de Guzman said. “The next thing you know, I’m a 21-year-old making my debut against Borussia Dortmund.

“That was a huge jump from listening to a director in Marseille saying I could never make it in Europe.”

‘ORGASMIC’ MOMENT

De Guzman appeared 78 times for Hannover before 2005, when his contract was up for renewal. “I wasn’t getting the offer I thought I should,” de Guzman said. Hannover’s sports director asked de Guzman to keep a secret. “He said, ‘Hey, listen. I’m going back to (La Coruna) and I want to bring you there,’ ” de Guzman said, agreeing it was somewhat shady.

The Canadian turned down offers from Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham to play in Spain.

“I went from making 20,000 Euros a month to $750,000 after taxes per year,” de Guzman said, adding that it was like, ‘Wow!’ when he saw his first cheque.

“But I knew that wasn’t the end,” de Guzman said, refocusing the conversation.

“I was told that it’s not about having good games or good seasons, it’s about having a good career. It’s about having consistency.”

De Guzman referred to it as the best time of his career. He was on the same field as guys such as Ronaldinho.

“I was defending them,” de Guzman added. “I would never imagine a Canadian getting that chance.”

Then came what de Guzman called an “incredible orgasm” on the pitch. Scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over Real Madrid stands alone as the biggest single moment in his career.

“Nobody knew anything about me,” de Guzman recalled. “I was a joke and a clown walking into that league. Scoring that goal (against Real Madrid) was so confusing to me. I felt like I was on top of the world.”

He was named La Coruna’s player of the year the following season. But memories of personal achievement are outnumbered by what he witnessed.

“The one person who always stood out, and remains a memory, is Ronaldinho,” de Guzman said. “I’d be on the bench watching us play Barcelona, and you’re on the edge of your seat. He just had so much fun. He enjoyed the game and was the best.”

RETURNING TO CANADA

Near the end of de Guzman’s deal with La Coruna, the Spanish club still owed him 2 million Euros.
De Guzman also recalls turning down an arranged marriage that would have provided La Coruna with an extra international roster spot. “They were very nonchalant about,” he said. “That got me frustrated.”

At 28, de Guzman looked to cash in. Wigan showed interest, but wouldn’t meet his demands. He also had options to return to Germany.

Finally, a low-ball offer from Toronto FC sparked a conversation. “It was a matter of TFC meeting my expectations,” de Guzman said, estimating TFC’s original offer was for roughly 450,000 Euros per season after taxes.

He eventually agreed to a three-year deal worth roughly $3 million annually.

“TFC met my expectations and even more,” added de Guzman, who doesn’t hide from what turned into a rough ride at BMO Field. De Guzman says he didn’t even know what a Designated Player meant. “It was a struggle,” he added. “I was presented to MLS as if I scored goals. I had crazy bonuses in my contract where I’d get $10,000 for a goal.

“Those weren’t my strengths. That wasn’t what I was taught in Europe.”

Suddenly, de Guzman, a holding midfielder, was expected to be an impact player. He still jokes about playing as a “second striker behind Dwayne De Rosario.

“When you come to MLS, you’re not just enjoying your time in America,” he said of his struggle. “You’re flying five hours to one game. You’re playing on turf. You’re playing with college players.”

But de Guzman doesn’t regret the decision — and not just for the financial implications.

“I got to learn a different culture,” he continued. “I was only in tune with a European mentality.”

The Reds attempted to push de Guzman out following 2009. And again after that.

“After (head coach Aron) Winter got released, he called me and told me TFC was trying to push me out,” de Guzman said. “He said, ‘Julian, you stay there and you collect every penny.’ ”

Relations continued to disintegrate under Paul Mariner until the club’s top brass decided to take a hit.

Controversy brewed when TFC traded de Guzman to Dallas — which paid a mere 10% of his wages — midway through 2012. Then de Guzman caught wind of Mariner’s farewell address in TFC’s dressing room. The Englishman reportedly told the team he’d sent de Guzman to Dallas to “burn in the heat.”

“Guys I was still in touch with relayed that message,” de Guzman said. “It was in a team talk that they had. He probably thought it was humour. I didn’t know if he hated me or was joking. At least he should have had class about it. I should have had better class, too, and not attacked certain people.”

Still, de Guzman refers to it as an “important” struggle. He relished people doubting him.

“You have to struggle,” he said. “That’s one thing I accepted when I stepped on that plane to Europe back in 1996.

“I was going to suffer — whether it was racism or culture shocks or something. I’d be an outcast because I carry a Canadian passport.”

THE FINAL YEARS

De Guzman considered re-upping with Dallas despite being offered a much-smaller deal.

But with his kids in Germany, he headed back overseas. “I wanted to retire,” de Guzman admitted. “I told myself I was out of the game.”

He retired to his vacation home in Mallorca for a few months before an ex-teammate invited him to train with the local club.

That stirred up rumours of a return that de Guzman says led to him inking a short-term deal with Germany’s Jahn Regensburg.

He spent the following season playing for Skoda Xanthi in Greece before his unwavering commitment to Canada eventually brought him to Ottawa, where he’s now an assistant coach.

“(Ex-Canadian coach) Benito Floro said I needed a team,” de Guzman said. “I said I’d sign with any team close to my home in Toronto, or close to my kids.

“I was ready to sign for any amount. It was just about playing and staying fit for the national team.”

De Guzman eventually reached out to former Ottawa Fury head coach Marc Dos Santos. “I said, ‘I don’t even care how much I make. I just need a team.’ ”

De Guzman continued: “Seeing the professionalism in Ottawa was good. It made it an easy decision to stay for another year. Now, here I am.”

And with only good things to say about the staff he officially joined Monday.

“I’ve always told myself — even before coaching was an idea — I want to be involved in the game,” de Guzman said.
“I couldn’t pass up this opportunity in Ottawa ...I’ve been through a lot of clubs and organizations, but here is very special — like a family.

“At the end of the day, I just want to see the game grow. This is my way of giving back to Canadian soccer.”

No matter where de Guzman has been, he’s always respected his passport.

A GOOD SOLDIER

TORONTO -- Nobody has appeared more for Canada’s men’s national team than Julian de Guzman.

At times, it was “painful,” he told the Toronto Sun.
Competing in four World Cup qualifying cycles without making CONCACAF’s hexagonal was tough. Perhaps, though, it was for a reason.

“That’s one of the most disappointing things,” de Guzman said. “But that learning curve of not making the hex is something we can grow from. It’s something we have grown from.”

De Guzman finishes with 89 appearances for Canada. He captained the squad for 25, earning Gold Cup all-star honours in 2007, ’09 and ’13.

“I’ve seen how the (Canadian) game has evolved, but at a very slow pace,” de Guzman added. “This is what my education has been. This is what I’m going to apply on the other side.

“The reason you fail is to succeed. At some point we will succeed. I don’t mind being that solider that went to battle for his country.”

THE DE GUZMAN FILE

Julian de Guzman
Age: 35
Hometown: Toronto
Position: Midfielder
Professional Club Career
2001-02 — FC Saarbrücken
2002-05 — Hannover 96
2005-06 — Deportivo La Coruna
2009-2012 — Toronto FC
2012 — FC Dallas
2013 — Jahn Regensburg
2013-14 — Skoda Xanthi
2015-16 — Ottawa Fury
International Career
2002-16 — Canada



 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 06:47:39 PM by asylumseeker »

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2017, 12:23:40 PM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/t7qDtNdJAlk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/t7qDtNdJAlk</a>


Xabi Alonso interview: Southgate is trying to change England but the mentality is buried deep
By Matt Dickinson, The Times (London).


As he heads for retirement this weekend, Xabi Alonso explains why the game is about intelligence not physicality

There is a vintage BMW R100 motorbike sitting in a garage waiting for its owner to rev it up and ride it down the highway. Xabi Alonso is looking forward to opening the throttle. “Well, I have to pass my test first,” he smiles. “But I’ve already done the theory. I’m almost ready to go.”

This weekend, almost two decades after a teenage Alonso gave up his two-wheeled machine to focus on making the most of himself as a footballer, one of the best players of his generation will ride off after 18 seasons in which he has not only won so much but accomplished it all with such class, such style.

When Alonso decided it was time to announce his imminent retirement, he wondered which moment he would use to accompany the message on Twitter. Would it be the jaw-dropping comeback in Istanbul to win the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005? How about the celebrated La Decima with Real Madrid in 2014? Or his most recent back-to-back Bundesliga championships with Bayern Munich?

But, then, how could Alonso possibly overlook the 2010 World Cup with Spain, when he started every game, which was the crowning glory of his country’s unprecedented hat-trick of international triumphs? How could one picture sum up a career? With characteristic thought, Alonso grabbed a pair of boots, wandered over to the park pitch near his home in Munich where his nine-year-old son plays at weekends.

Using a phone, his wife took a black and white picture of Alonso, boots in one hand, shy little wave with the other. “Lived it. Loved it. Farewell beautiful game,” he posted.

“I couldn’t pick one photo of my career,” he says. “So I thought, ‘Let’s go back to where it all started, a normal football pitch, with my boots. Let’s finish where it began, where the kids play.’ ”

It was perfectly done, with no PR hullabaloo; elegant, uncomplicated. It is the same when we sit down in the sunshine at Munich’s relaxed training ground on Säbener Strasse to discuss all that Alonso has achieved, and what happens next.

As Philipp Lahm chats a few yards away about his own retirement, Alonso is still not sure what emotions will hit him against Freiburg on Saturday, the last professional game of his life.

But, as he counts down every training session, the finale feels right. At 35, he wanted to bow out at the top, not dragging out his career in China for any amount of money. He hoped to go out on a high — lifting the Bundesliga with Bayern is close enough to the peak.

Retirement propels many sportsmen into a scary void. “I am at peace with myself,” he says. “When I have time to reflect, I know the memories will be good ones.”

Regrets? Well, not quite too few to mention. “Maybe I have three,” he says. “With Real Sociedad, my club, we were one game from winning La Liga [in 2002-03]. With Liverpool we were so close to the Premier League. With Bayern, so close to the Champions League. But maybe that would be too much to ask, too perfect. If you can call them regrets . . . but that’s just football. When I look back, I can be happy that I’ve done what I wanted, dictated my path.”

A new direction awaits, and one that will surely take him into coaching. If ever a man seemed hand-crafted for guiding the next generation, it is this most wise of footballers.

Not so fast, Alonso says. First he wants a long break, a proper year out after so many years of physical and mental intensity. “Sometimes I think about the games too much,” he says. “I’ve lost a lot of sleep thinking about matches for days before, days after.”

There is that motorbike to ride, perhaps some skiing, travel with his family. His son, Jontxu, “a little Scouser” born in Liverpool, is demanding that his father takes him to see the new main stand at Anfield. “I’ve spent my life trying to squeeze everything into four weeks in summer,” he says. “Now I don’t have to plan anything. I have weekends for the first time in 18 years. My wife is thrilled.”

But you would bet a lot of money on the game drawing him back, and Alonso seeking to pass on all he has learnt from all those years as the cerebral midfield fulcrum of some of the world’s biggest clubs.

Alonso is the boy from the Basque country who came to England in 2004, aged 23. His Liverpool debut came in a bruising defeat by Bolton Wanderers. “I remember [after] 15, 20 minutes I think it was a Kevin Nolan tackle, a ‘welcome to the Premier League tackle,’ ” he laughs. “Then there was [Jussi] Jaaskelainen from his kicks, not even trying to pass, just long balls up to Kevin Davies. I said to myself, ‘This is different. OK, Xabi, you want to make it here, become a pro with Liverpool you need to learn fast.’ ” He won the Champions League, unforgettably, at the end of his first season.

From those five seasons at Anfield, Alonso developed a deep fondness for English football. But it is not a blind loyalty.

That overt physicality still makes Alonso shake his head with bemusement. We chat about Steven Gerrard’s recent promise to knock out the “showboating mentality” among Liverpool’s under-18s. It is a matter of emphasis and Alonso’s is clear.

“You need to be up for the game but, for me, it’s about intelligence,” he says. “If you are afraid of contact, for sure you won’t make it. But the most important thing is to understand the game, like why I need to play a short pass here, a longer pass there. Why take this position not that one. Try to understand the game around you. That’s my idea.”

It is a reminder that he once gave an interview despairing that a young player in the Liverpool academy had cited the tackle as his greatest strength. “Tackling isn’t a quality to aspire to,” he said, in a perfectly pitched challenge to English footballing culture.

“It was a great controversy,” Alonso says. “And I stick with my opinion. I don’t refuse the tackle. I love a good tackle. But it’s the last resort.

“It’s much better to avoid the tackle. Try to anticipate. How many times does [Barcelona’s Sergio] Busquets tackle in his position? He’s so ahead of the game, he doesn’t need to.

“In England you love to roar, ‘Aaagghhhh,’ it’s part of your game. But it needs to progress like we see with German players now, more adaptable, more flair. You see the success they had at the World Cup, and that was a ten-year process. England, it’s taking longer. You have good young players, [Gareth] Southgate is trying to bring a different way that I like. But the mentality is buried deep.”

Offline soccerman

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2017, 03:17:04 PM »
It is a reminder that he once gave an interview despairing that a young player in the Liverpool academy had cited the tackle as his greatest strength. “Tackling isn’t a quality to aspire to,” he said, in a perfectly pitched challenge to English footballing culture.

“It was a great controversy,” Alonso says. “And I stick with my opinion. I don’t refuse the tackle. I love a good tackle. But it’s the last resort.

“It’s much better to avoid the tackle. Try to anticipate. How many times does [Barcelona’s Sergio] Busquets tackle in his position? He’s so ahead of the game, he doesn’t need to.
Like this :beermug:

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2017, 10:28:02 AM »
Arda Turan has announced his retirement from national team duty following an incident aboard the plane transporting the Turkish national team. Reports on social and traditional media indicate that Turan attacked a journalist travelling with the playing and technical delegation. Turan has said he is unrepentant - although he concedes the incident should not have occurred on the NT plane.

The retirement comes with the 30 year old having been well-positioned to achieve 100 caps.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2017, 05:33:53 AM »
Andrea Pirlo formally announces retirement from football
The Telegraph




Andrea Pirlo has formally announced his retirement from professional football after a trophy-laden 22-year career.

The former Italy international, 38, played his final match on Sunday as New York City FC were knocked out of the MLS Cup play-offs by the Columbus Crew.

City needed to overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg but, despite a 2-0 victory at Yankee Stadium, their post-season involvement came to an end, and with it Pirlo's career.

The former AC Milan and Juventus playmaker revealed earlier this year he was planning to retire at the end of the MLS season, and on Monday he published a farewell message through his Twitter account.

It read: "Last match in MLS. As my time in NYFC comes to an end I would like to say a few words. I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city.

"Thank you to the amazing supporters, thank you to the coaching staff, and everybody that works behind the scenes, thank you to my team-mate

Not only my adventure in NY comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well.

"That is why I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and my children for the support and love they have always given me, every team that I had the honour to play for, every team-mate I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people that made my career so incredible and last but not least, all the fans around the world that always showed me support.

"You will always be on my side and in my heart."

Pirlo joined New York City FC in July 2015 as one of the most decorated and respected players in global football.

He helped Juve win four successive Serie A titles after joining them in 2011, having previously spent a decade at Milan, with whom he claimed a host of trophies, including winning two Champions Leagues, Serie A twice, the Coppa Italia and the FIFA Club World Cup.

He also collected 116 caps for Italy and was a member of their 2006 World Cup-winning squad before retiring from international football in 2015.

New York City FC wrote in a statement: "Everyone at New York City FC would like to congratulate Andrea on an incredible career and to thank him for his excellent contribution to NYCFC over the past two and a half years."


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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2017, 05:49:14 AM »
Andrea Pirlo saluta e lascia: la sua diversità ha cambiato il calcio
By di Mario Sconcerti, Corriere Della Sera Sport.


Non so quando rinascerà uno come Andrea Pirlo. Spero ci si sia resi conto della sua diversità. Tutto il calcio latino è molto legato ai numeri 10, tende a sottovalutare quello che non è il gol. Si ricordano le punizioni di Pirlo e non come queste nascevano. Ci vuole un controllo straordinario per decidere la traiettoria di un pallone, all’aria aperta o sotto la pioggia. Ma quello per lui era solo un ricamo. La diversità stava in come usava i quattro metri che trovava sempre tra la folla per vedere un compagno libero e mandarlo in gol.

È nato nel periodo sbagliato per il suo tipo di gioco. Il calcio negli anni Novanta e Duemila tornò a innamorarsi del pressing, della difesa alta. Guardiola è bravissimo, ma non le ha inventate lui, vengono da molto lontano, servivano per recuperare in fretta il pallone già nella metà campo degli altri. L’aggressione a metà campo fu costruita proprio per limitare quelli come lui che se avevano il tempo di pensare mettevano il pallone dove volevano.

Il primo a capire che Pirlo andava sfruttato in modo diverso fu Carlo Mazzone che lo portò dieci metri più indietro nel Brescia. Fu poi Ancelotti a farne un regista moderno e senza nome se non il suo. Nacque il regista alla Pirlo, qualcosa appunto di unico. Per capire tanta diversità basta ricordare che ancora pochi anni fa uno bravo come Allegri, allora al Milan, gli preferì Van Bommel davanti alla difesa, un giocatore di fisico e di misura. Pirlo si sarebbe dovuto spostare a fare l’interno, di nuovo in mezzo al pressing. Lui disse no e andò alla Juve, dove ritrovò Allegri che nel frattempo aveva capito.

La differenza di Pirlo è stata per anni quella del Milan e della Juve. C’erano molti bravi attaccanti, molti fantasisti, ma non c’era un altro Pirlo. Andava contro il ritmo del calcio che prevede passaggi orizzontali e un corridoio finale. Pirlo andava sempre in verticale, di cinque metri o cinquanta, ma a modo suo. E quel modo diventava la differenza della squadra. Hanno cercato cento modi di chiuderlo, dal centravanti che lo marcava a inizio gioco, al medianaccio che lo asfissiava. Ma Pirlo aveva un alleato, il pallone, sapeva mandarlo dove voleva. Così ha vissuto nel punto più pericoloso del campo e senza averne le doti fisiche, quasi senza accorgersene. Era casa sua. E da lì ricominciava per mandare in porta gli altri.

Non ha paragoni, li ha creati. Non cercava di giocar bene a calcio, lo inventava. Se devo pensare a qualcuno davvero, mi viene in mente Didi. Ma è un ricordo sfuocato. Pirlo ha preso in giro il calcio degli schemi, quello vero era sempre il suo. Spero sia stato felice, ma non è facile quando si è unici. Non riesco adesso a immaginarlo allenatore o immerso nel mercato a comprare giocatori molto peggiori di lui. Lo vedo come una grande memoria, cioè il vero tempo di tutti noi. E tra i ricordi uno importante: è sempre stato un gentiluomo. Credo che per lui il difficile cominci adesso. Ma quando sai maneggiare così una palla, puoi giocare qualunque cosa, anche la vita.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 05:51:56 AM by asylumseeker »

Offline Deeks

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2017, 11:27:14 AM »
What a friggin soldier.

Offline maxg

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2017, 02:25:29 PM »
What a friggin soldier.
more than that, the Italian double O six of football, right in front of the brits 007. A real special ops silent assassin player. Nuff man an teams he leave dead on the field, and some ah dem didn't even know it.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2018, 06:38:22 PM »
Uruguay stalwart Lugano hangs up the boots
FIFA




Diego Lugano, who captained Uruguay to a memorable semi-final appearance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, has announced his retirement to bring down the curtain on a glittering 19-year playing career.

A stoic but athletic centre-back, Lugano enjoyed a fruitful decade-long career for La Celeste, which ended in 2014.*

Lugano debuted during the unsuccessful qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup, before appearing on the world stage in 2010 as Uruguay finished fourth, and he also represented his nation four years later in Brazil.

Lugano earned 95 caps, winning the Copa America in 2011, and featuring at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.

Now 37, Lugano has accepted on off-field role at Sao Paulo, the club where he concluded his playing career.


Poster's note

In total, Lugano won seven domestic league trophies (two in Uruguay with Nacional, three with Fenerbahce, two in Brazil with Sao Paulo and one with Paris Saint Germain).

In terms of Cups, he won a Coupe de France with PSG and three with Fenerbahce.

Also lifted a Copa America, the Copa Libertadores and a FIFA Club World Cup title.

*Made his professional debut in 1999 with Nacional  and was capped by Uruguay in 2004. Has played more matches as captain than any other captain of the Uruguayan national team.


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« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 06:55:27 PM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2018, 06:27:31 PM »
Cuauhtémoc Blanco

5 December 1992 - April 21, 2015

The 42 year old Blanco retired yesterday following participating in Puebla's 4-2 victory over Chivas to win the Copa Mx. He retires as one of two Mexican players to have scored at three different World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2010). Put into context, it should be noted that he was excluded from the 2006 WC squad due to personal difference with Ricardo Lavolpe.

In his exclusion from a WC squad he reminds me of Romario. In his personal disposition, reception from the fans and his ability to be controversial, he reminds me of Riquelme. In his retirement, he reminds us of the road explored by several former retiring players: politics. He is standing as a mayoral candidate in a municipality of fair importance.

More to follow.

Cuau obtained 39,861 votes (28.4%) standing as a candidate of the Social Democrats to be mayor (presidente municipal propietario or alcalde) of Cuernavaca. The PRI's candidate's vote total of 31,455 constituted Blanco's closest challenge. The PRI has launched a challenge to the electoral authority's confirmation of Blanco in the position, based on electoral irregularities. However, it appears that the extent of the irregularities, even if sustained as valid, would not have impacted the outcome as it stands.

The election occurred on June 6, and the formal confirmation was announced on Sunday, June 21.







Press conference held a few hours ago.

Blanco was elected Governor of the State of Morelos in yesterday's national elections in Mexico.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2019, 01:48:36 PM »
Yaya has scored goals far more attractive than this goal, but this goal delivered a coveted title (and snatched a FA Cup Winner's medal from Kenwyne).

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2019, 08:42:13 AM »
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Ashley Cole retires from playing and plans move into coaching
Press Association


Ashley Cole has said he is planning a move into coaching after calling time on his illustrious playing career.

The former England defender won 13 major titles during his 20-year career, including the 2012 Champions League with Chelsea, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup triumphs.

38-year-old Cole, who won 107 caps for England, announced his retirement on Sky Sports, where he was appearing as a pundit for Sunday afternoon’s Premier League games.

“After hard thinking and consideration, it was obviously time to hang my boots up and look towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching. I’m doing a course at the moment,” Cole said. “Now I want to be great at being a coach.”

Cole made more than 500 club appearances in a career that took in Arsenal, Crystal Palace (on loan), Chelsea, Roma, LA Galaxy and Derby County.

“As a young kid I never expected to be a professional, so looking back now, to be able to say I played in World Cups, Champions League finals ... being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles is a young kid’s dream, so I’ve fulfilled my dream. [It’s been] incredible, to be honest.”

Despite his impressive haul of domestic trophies, Cole said he was proudest of his England caps. Only Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Bobby Moore have made more England appearances.

“I probably didn’t grasp it as much as I should,” Cole added. “I look back now and I’ve played for my country, not just once but I’ve managed to play over 100 times. I’m proud of that and it’s just a little bit disappointing I didn’t get to a final or even a semi-final with England.”

Cole began his career with Arsenal and, after a brief loan spell at Palace, went on to make more than 200 appearances for the North London side, lifting the FA Cup three times and winning the Premier League twice.

He was a member of the “Invincibles” team who went through the 2003-04 Premier League season unbeaten, but left the club in acrimonious circumstances two years later. His move to Chelsea angered Arsenal fans, who dubbed him “Cashley”. In his autobiography, Cole said he had “nearly swerved off the road” after being told by his agent that Arsenal were offering him £55,000 per week, compared to £90,000 from Chelsea.

Cole was fined £100,000 – later reduced to £75,000 on appeal – for his part in an illegal approach from Chelsea in 2005. A year later, Cole joined Chelsea for £5m, with William Gallas moving the other way.

The left-back won the FA Cup in his first season at Chelsea, and four times in total while at Stamford Bridge. Cole also won the Premier League in 2010 and the Champions League in 2012, scoring in the penalty shootout as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the final.

After leaving Chelsea in 2014, Cole enjoyed spells with Roma and LA Galaxy before ending his playing career under former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard at Derby. Cole joined in January and helped Lampard’s side reach the Championship play-off final, where they lost to Aston Villa.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zUHvPgJgop8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/zUHvPgJgop8</a>

If there were a hall of fame for left-backs, Cole would be an instant inductee. The Englishman possesses 107 caps, three Premier League winner’s medals – won with two different clubs – seven of the same from the FA Cup and one League Cup. Cole won the Champions League and Europa League, too, during a terrific spell at Chelsea. Earlier, Cole was part of Arsenal’s revered Invincibles side. All this after being brought up by a single mother in the East End of London.

--- Ewan Murray writing in the The Guardian, September 24, 2017.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2019, 09:13:38 AM »
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Wesley Sneijder hangs up his boots after a glittering 17-year career
DutchNews.nl


Former Dutch international Wesley Sneijder has announced his retirement from professional football after a 17-year career filled with trophies. Sneijder, 35, said in Utrecht on Monday evening he had decided to call it quits. He made the announcement on the FC Utrecht tv channel when talking about his decision to rent a skybox at the Galgenwaard stadium. ‘I have a major attachment to the city,’ he said. ‘Now I have stopped playing, I want to have a good place to share my memories.’ Sneijder, who comes from Utrecht, has been without a club since the summer and stood down as an international in September 2018 after a record-breaking 134 caps for Oranje.

He is the third of the Dutch greats after Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to announce his retirement from the game this year.

Sneijder made his debut for the Dutch national team in a friendly match against Portugal in April 2003, less than two months after breaking into Ajax’s first team as an 18-year-old.

He is the third of the Dutch greats after Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to announce his retirement from the game this year. Sneijder made his debut for the Dutch national team in a friendly match against Portugal in April 2003, less than two months after breaking into Ajax’s first team as an 18-year-old.

His real breakthrough came in November that year when he masterminded a 6-0 win against Scotland in the second leg of the play-offs for Euro 2004, after the Netherlands had lost the first leg 1-0.

Sneijder was the linchpin of the team that reached the 2010 World Cup final, scoring five goals from midfield to become the tournament’s joint top scorer. Four years later he won his 100th international cap as the Dutch shocked world champions Spain in their opening World Cup match, winning 5-1 on their way to the semi-finals.

As an Ajax player Sneijder won the league title in his debut season and the KNVB Cup twice before being sold for €27 million to Real Madrid in 2007. Two years later he joined Inter Milan, where he was instrumental in winning the treble of league, cup and Champions League in the 2009-10 season.

He later spent five years at Turkish club Galatasaray before buying himself out of his contract in July last year and moving to Qatar.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 09:32:31 AM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2019, 11:15:03 AM »
Juan Silveira dos Santos ("Juan")

Not a player about whom there is extensive documentation in the media, particularly in English language publications, but his contributions at both ends of the football field made a statement.

This goal against Uruguay, under Tabarez one of the most defensively applied teams in the world, speaks for itself.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2019, 10:22:10 AM »
Fernando Torres to pay homage to Atletico Madrid in final game of his career
Arturo J. Caballero, Marca


Fernando Torres will hang up his boots on August 23 during a match against Vissel Kobe, who have his friends Andres Iniesta and David Villa in their ranks, and the striker has played a role in deciding which shirt the Sagan Tosu players will wear.

The strip, which emulates Atletico Madrid's Puma kit from the 1990s, will mean that Torres will be able to pay homage to the team of his heart, despite being halfway across the world.It remains to be seen if Torres will return to Atleti after retiring in a non-playing capacity.

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Speaking with Javier Matallanas of as.com about the most important goal he scored:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/qRLbzpy1y8Y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/qRLbzpy1y8Y</a>

"It’s the goal that changed my career. What’s more, it was after my best footballing year which was at Liverpool. That group of players, we changed the history of Spanish football and it fell to me to have the luck of scoring the goal in the final. At the time you don’t realise you’ve scored the most important goal you’re going to score in your career. With time, you do realise. It didn’t just change my life, it changed the dynamic of the Spanish team, it takes you to another level as a player, they value you differently. It’s a key moment, a before and after moment."

[What other goals would you pick from your career?]

The one in Vienna, of course. My first goal when I came back to Atleti for my second spell, because of the opponents, to score again wearing that shirt, what it meant at the time. I always talk about the goal in the other final of the European Championships in 2012, which seems like it never happened. The goal in Vienna is so important that it seems like in the final in 2012 I never scored, both that goal and the pass to Juan Mata, they are moments I value in my career. And of course the final goal in an Atleti shirt, because there’ll never be any more.


« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 10:25:39 AM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2019, 05:50:07 PM »
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Bastian Schweinsteiger announces retirement from football
Deutsche Welle


The former World Cup winner and Bayern Munich captain has called time on an illustrious career. German national team coach Joachim Löw has paid tribute to 'one of Germany's greatest ever players.'

Germany and Bayern Munich legend Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 35.

Born and raised in Rosenheim, near Munich, midfielder Schweinsteiger scored 68 goals in exactly 500 first-team appearances for Bayern Munich between 2002 and 2015, winning eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups, one League Cup and one Champions League - the latter part of an historic treble in 2013.

He also made 121 senior appearances for his country and was a key member of the Germany team which won a fourth World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Following the tournament, he inherited the captaincy from Bayern teammate and close friend Philipp Lahm.

Schweinsteiger left Bavaria in 2015 and signed for record English champions Manchester United, for whom he made a total of 35 appearances, picking up FA Cup and Europa League winners' medals.

In 2017, he moved to the United States to join MLS side Chicago Fire, where he scored eight goals in 92 appearances, the last of which was on Sunday, a 5-2 victory away to Orlando City.

"The time has now come and I will be finishing my active career at the end of this season," Schweinsteiger announced via Twitter, thanking his former clubs, the German national team, his family and his wife, former world number one tennis player Ana Ivanovic.

"Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon. I will always remain faithful to football."

Schweinsteiger has not yet made public his plans post-retirement, but one destination could be the German Football Association (DFB).

"We'll always have a place for him here," said national team coach Joachim Löw, who led Germany to that 2014 triumph in Rio de Janeiro and is currently preparing the side for the 2020 European Championships.

"I don't know what his plans are but any former player who wants to become a coach, whether doing their badges or coaching our youth teams, is always welcome," added Löw, who recently had Schweinsteiger's former Germany teammate Miroslav Klose on his staff, coaching the strikers.

Speaking at the German Football Museum in Dortmund, Löw described Schweinsteiger as "one of the greatest players that Germany has ever had" and said that the image of him bloodied up during the World Cup final will forever remain etched in fans' memories.

"He fought until he dropped," he said. "You could sense his will to win in everything he did."

Bastian Schweinsteiger: From winger to World Cup winning warrior
Deutsche Welle


By the time of the performance that will forever define his career, Bastian Schweinsteiger was a tough, smart, skilled and streetwise central midfielder. The controller, if not the captain, of the Germany side that won the World Cup in Rio in 2014.

Along with Mario Götze's winning goal, images of Schweinsteiger — bleeding from a cut just beneath his eye — driving his team on physically and technically are those that have lingered longest in the collective memory.

Such a complete performance in the heart of midfield in the biggest game on the planet was remarkable. But it becomes even more so for those who remember his first steps into elite football as a teenage Bayern Munich winger with a reputation for questionable behavior and haircuts.

Ottmar Hitzfeld handed Schweinsteiger and Phlipp Lahm their Bayern debuts in a Champions League group-stage tie in November 2002 and the pair would go on to define both Bayern and the German national team for over a decade. Schweinsteiger made 500 Bayern appearances, winning eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups and the Champions League as part of the 2013 treble under coach Jupp Heynckes.

The man with the plan

"To me, Schweinsteiger is a great strategist," Heynckes said of his player shortly before that treble. "Just as a film director has his script, he has a plan in his mind for matches."

By that time, the boy from Bavaria had become a man. His early appearances came mostly on the right-hand side of midfield, where Schweinsteiger's crossing and penchant for spectacular long-range passes and shots were allowed to come to the fore. His performances there were enough to win him a surprise call-up for his country's Euro 2004 squad shortly after his international debut against Hungary.

Though Germany exited at the group stage in Portugal, Schweinsteiger impressed and it was the last time he'd have to suffer such an exit. The 35-year-old shares the record for most appearances in World Cup and Euros finals matches (38) with Cristiano Ronaldo and played a key role as Germany restored some national sporting pride with a home World Cup in 2006 that many saw as the foundation for what happened eight years later.

As well as that third-placed finish in 2006, Schweinsteiger also helped Germany finish third in the 2010 World Cup but was denied a European Championships winners medal with a series of close calls over four tournaments. It's the one medal missing from his collection.

Heart on sleeve

There were also moments of heartbreak with Bayern, most notably the 2012 Champions League final defeat to Chelsea on home turf. Schweinsteiger was visibly distraught after the penalty loss and his visceral reaction drew plenty of sympathy.

It wasn't unusual. More than most footballers, and contrary to the general perception of German players, Schweinsteiger showed what he felt. It's always been clear how much he cared and how much he valued the team and the sport.

"Bastian was the soul and the heart of the team. He did everything for the team, not for himself," said Heynckes.

After a public admonishment from German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a sending-off against Croatia in 2008, Schweinsteiger became something of an ambassador for German football, maintaining his composure through a difficult spell at Manchester United before winding down his career with Chicago Fire, where he'll finish up at the end of the current season.

As tributes continue to pour in from teammates, it's clear he'll retire as an undisputed Bayern Munich and Germany icon. As for the future, Germany coach Joachim Löw hinted ahead of a rematch of that 2014 final on Wednesday that the door was open to his former charge.

Whether Schweinsteiger is ready to take that next step is not yet clear. But he's never shirked a challenge before.


Quotes in homage

"One of the greatest German players ever ... A big player, a huge personality. Always honest, always emphatic." --- Joachim Low.

"It was an honour to play, fight and win trophies with you. The game will miss you. All the best and enjoy your free time Fußballgott!"--- David Alaba

It was an honor and a pleasure to share part of the journey with you @BSchweinsteiger You leave the field but not the love for football. God bless you, man! --- Antonio Valencia

Congratulations to my good friend @BSchweinsteiger on an unbelievable career. It was a pleasure to get to play alongside you. Good luck in your retirement." #legend --- Wayne Rooney

To view a chronology of Schweinsteiger's career in photos, go to From Basti to Mr. Schweinsteiger

#DankeBasti



« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 08:37:48 PM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2019, 06:34:57 PM »
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Farewell to DaMarcus Beasley: a US star with no interest in the limelight
By Tom Dart, The Guardian


The former PSV and Rangers player never measured his worth in newsprint or television appearances and never cared about outside praise or criticism.

Sunday was branded Decision Day in MLS, but for one of the finest players the American game has ever produced, the choice was made months ago.

DaMarcus Beasley announced his retirement in May, days before his 37th birthday. He made his farewell appearance in the Houston Dynamo’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, in which a man nearly eight months his senior, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scored his 30th goal of the season.

Even in the Oprah Giveaway Show of professional sports leagues – “You get a playoff place! You get a playoff place! You get a playoff place!” – it’s been clear for a while that the only way Houston’s players would experience postseason thrills this autumn is by walking three blocks north of BBVA Stadium and scoring a ticket for the Astros.

Waving goodbye to the modest crowd, who gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 89th minute, Beasley’s 20-year career was done.

There was a certain circle-closing neatness in the identity of the opposition, since the Galaxy were Beasley’s first professional club back in 1999 when he was a lithe, precocious winger who idolised Ryan Giggs. Before playing a game in California he was traded to Chicago, where he became enough of a starlet to be signed by then-PSV Eindhoven head coach Guus Hiddink in 2004 as a replacement for Arjen Robben.

With PSV he became the first American to play in the last four of the Champions League; in Britain he may be best remembered for spells with Manchester City (on loan from PSV in 2006-07) and Rangers (2007-10) that were defined by injuries and fitful moments of flair. And for somebody blowing up his BMW.

A move to the Bundesliga with Hanover was an unalloyed flop. But after a solid three-year stint in Mexico with Puebla – where he became fluent in Spanish – he returned to MLS to join Houston shortly after starting all four of the US’s fixtures in the 2014 World Cup. The league decided its finances had evolved enough to offer Designated Player money (about $800,000 annually in Beasley’s case) to a 32-year-old left back. His time in Texas yielded a couple of All-Star selections, a league fair play award, one playoff appearance and the 2018 US Open Cup.

That modest trophy haul from his spell at one of MLS’s lower-profile franchises helps explain why the response to his retirement seems relatively muted when viewed against his overall achievements.

But – even though he was a novelty in the 2000s as an American outfield player holding his own at famous European clubs through skill rather than brawn – there is the sense that Beasley has long been highly respected and slightly underrated. As a 2007 Chicago Tribune headline put it: “Beasley’s game bigger than name”.

A 2015 Guardian list of the best-ever male American players ranked Beasley 18th. You might say that is low for the only USMNT member to play in four World Cups; a man who (like his fellow retiree, Tim Howard) appeared at least once for the national side in each of 16 years, scoring 17 goals in 126 caps (good for seventh-most on the US all-time list).

“A guy who’s played in four World Cups, to have as many caps as he has, you’d put him up there with some of the greatest careers in the history of American soccer,” said Davy Arnaud, Houston’s interim head coach and Beasley’s former international teammate. “He’s athletic, he’s quick, he’s fantastic with his feet but his reading and his understanding of the game I think is what has taken him to the highest level.”

What kept him there is pragmatism: his twilight years have been a masterclass in managed decline as he transitioned to making left-back his permanent position in his early 30s as his body slowed but his mind stayed sharp.

“If I had stayed as a winger, in midfield, would I have played in a fourth World Cup? Probably not,” he told reporters at Houston’s training ground last week.

He was still capable of conjuring the unexpected – this goal from February, say, or a prank on his teammates last week that involved a truck, an image from an infamous New York Times 2002 World Cup “fashion” photoshoot and 110 bags of styrofoam peanuts.

But longevity and consistency made him appear predictable and safe ≠ a stark contrast from his early years as a kid dubbed “Jitterbug” for his kinetic attacking. And a departure from the jinking winger he was in Europe, as liable to frustrate as to thrill, where his side hustle was a diamond jewellery collection.

“That’s been something that I’ve talked about with my business partner. Seriously, it has been. Make a few new pieces, kind of reinvent the line,” he said. “At the same time, I want to stay in football.”

That could mean following his passion for youth development by opening a training centre in Houston, perhaps similar to the Beasley National Soccer School in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana. Or an as-yet-undefined role with the Dynamo: “We have reached out to each other to see if there’s any possibility that we can work together in the future at some point,” he hedged.

His lack of interest in the limelight, as well as his career trajectory, may also explain why he has not transcended his sport into household name status. Beasley never measured his worth in newsprint or television appearances and never cared about outside praise or criticism.

“Everyone has their own opinion. There’s people in the world that think Messi’s not a good player. How in the hell is that possible? But there are people like that. Huh? He’s the best player on the planet. So that stuff does not bother me at all,” he said.

“Even when I was in Germany, I didn’t play [but] I was on the national team, I always had confidence in myself. I never let that go. People said ‘oh, he’s done, what’s he going to do, blah blah blah’. I didn’t go to the media, I didn’t say anything, I didn’t care what people said about me.”

Turns out, pace took him to the top but stamina kept him there. And Beasley proved exceptional not only in his durability, but his resilience. “If they say that I’ve done this or done that… it doesn’t bother me either way,” he said. “Me, I play for the people that’s in [the locker room], I play for my family, the fans, that’s it.”

He’ll have to get used to describing his playing career in the past tense. But it’s easy to believe he is smart and adaptable enough to make a success of life off the pitch. “I’m excited for the future,” he said. “I’m intrigued about what the next chapter is for me.”
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 08:35:42 PM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2019, 08:47:30 AM »
Have any of the women warriors retired?

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2019, 11:35:29 AM »
Have any of the women warriors retired?

Not officially as far as I know, although some like Dernelle Mascall act like it.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2021, 06:17:46 AM »
St Kitts flagbearer Atiba Harris hangs up boots
By Sean A. Williams, Jamaica Observer


Atiba Harris has had a long and successful stint playing professionally in the US leagues. But like anything else in life, all good things must come to an end.

The 36-year-old St Kitts and Nevis footballer has called time on his professional career recently, hanging up his boots at a time when he could still have a few more productive playing years left in hm.

But for Harris, the time to walk away is now.

“I have decided to hang up my boots because I felt like the time was right to move on to the next chapter of my life as I wanted to focus on going home to St Kitts & Nevis and assist with football development,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently.

Harris, who ended his playing career with United Soccer League's Oklahoma City Energy, said his 14 years campaigning in the US leagues allowed him to fulfil a boyhood dream.

“I think that my time in the US was fairly decent [as] I was able to accomplish my dream in competing consistently at the professional level,” Harris said.

He noted that among the high points of a career that also took him to Spain and Mexico, was becoming the first player from his island home to play in US Major League Soccer (MLS).

But there was also a painful low.

“My high point was definitely becoming the first player from St Kitts & Nevis to sign in Major League Soccer and making the nation proud. My low point was having to deal with multiple surgeries between 2011 and 2012,” he recalled.

Harris, a defender, had his most successful spell at FC Dallas where he played over 120 matches.

“I have had five excellent years with FC Dallas and I will forever hold this club close to my heart. The set up at the club is amazing from top to bottom, especially the way that this club aims to develop players from the academy level all the way to the senior level,” he shared.

The Kittian said he had the pleasure playing alongside a number of former and current Reggae Boyz. Among them are Ryan Johnson and Andy Willams at Real Salt Lake; Shavar Thomas at Chivas USA; Jeff Cunningham at both Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas; Darren Mattocks at Vancouver Whitecaps FC; Deshorn Brown at Colorado Rapids and OKC Energy FC; Khari Stephenson and Shaun Francis at San Jose Earthquakes and Je-Vaughn Watson at FC Dallas and OKC Energy FC.

Harris says playing for Cadiz of Spain's La Liga and Linares of Spain's Division B, plus a stint with Mexico's Murcielagos was an eye-opener.

“Playing in Spain and Mexico helped me to understand a different way of life. Going to Spain at 18 had its challenges as I didn't speak the language, so I had to quickly figure things out. I encountered racism, but the football was on point,” Harris said.

His move to Mexico, after a well-travelled course in the MLS, was seen as being risky as his team was located in drug cartel-controlled Sinaloa.

But his desire to move to Mexico was stronger than his fear of the potential danger.

“I was married with three daughters and my wife is of Mexican heritage, so we were excited for that move. Some people thought it was a risky decision going to Los Mochis in Sinaloa, Mexico, but we had an amazing time off the field as a family,” Harris said.

The St Kitts and Nevis international said while he had dreamt of making it big in Europe, playing in the US in the main and in Concacaf competitions provided Harris with a sense of accomplishment.

“As a little boy I always wanted to go to Europe and play in the European Champions League, but that didn't happen. However, I was able to play in the Concacaf Champions League, which is our version of top club competition in this region, and for that, I am thankful,” he stated.

Harris, who was capped more than 60 times for his native St Kitts, said a great source of pride was wearing the national colours and his role as mentor for young players.

“It has been a pleasure representing my country in the professional world and I do have regular conversations with young aspiring players who are looking to make that step into the professional arena,” he noted.

Harris thinks the future of St Kitts football is secured with the talent the country continues to cultivate against the odds.

“I think our country is blessed with lots of natural talent both locally and in our Diaspora and we were able to have a few players other than myself who went on to become professional players and make an impact,” he reasoned.

He singled out Keith “Kayamba” Gumbs, Thrizen “Jamous”, Julani Archibald, Romaine, Phoenitia Browne, Shontelle Wilkinson, and female player Caroline “T Mac” Springer as other national players who have been flying the nation's flag with distinction over the years.

Now that his retirement from the playing turfs of the game is sealed, Harris has declared his intention to run for the presidency of the St Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA).

“After some serious consideration, I have decided to be a candidate for the presidency of the SKNFA as the current president is stepping down and local clubs have reached out to me to step up,” he asserted.

Harris holds the view that the SKNFA is heading in a direction which does not necessarily serve the best interest of the game.

“I think that the SKNFA has done some good things and not so good things over the years. We've seen the highs when things were looking good, but at this present moment, I think we're headed in the wrong direction, so my team and I are looking forward to getting things moving in a positive direction,” he said.

Harris, who also represented MLS outfits Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA, Vancouver Whitecaps, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes, says opportunities for smaller members of Concacaf, including his St Kitts, to grow have multiplied with the Nations League.

“I think that the Nations League is a very good thing for smaller nations to get meaningful matches on a regular basis and I'm looking forward to the next edition,” he concluded.

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Re: Thread in Honour of Retiring Players
« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2021, 05:12:51 PM »


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