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World Football

Top 10 footballers who retired in 2023

Published at :November 12, 2023 at 5:18 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 1:04 AM
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A pick of 10 inspiring and notable players retiring in 2023

Every season, football brings life to countless memories. Unlike a season of Major League Soccer and many other competitions that start and end in the same year, others usually intersect timelines of two consecutive years.

With 2022-23 season ending around midway through 2023 and the upcoming season beginning 24 in a few months, players get very less time away from football. And along with new talents taking centre stage under the shining light, many take a step back to end their remarkable careers.

In this article, we’ll have a look at the best footballers who retired from the game 2023.

10. David Silva

footballers who retired in 2023 David Silva
David Silva. (Courtesy: Sky Sports)

David Silva quite rightly known as ‘Merlin’ or ‘El Mago’ by his former teammates announced his retirement this July. After a thrilling career mainly with Manchester City and the Spain national football team, Silva called it a day.

The 37-year-old injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the 2023-24 pre-season training with Real Sociedad and thus decided to announce his retirement. The 2010 FIFA World Cup winner won four Premier League trophies during his decade-long stay at the blue horizon of Manchester.

9. Emmanuel Adebayor

After playing out his career in France, England, Spain, Turkey and even Paraguay, a 39-year-old Emmanuel Adebayor decided to call his time over with football in his native land Togo (a country in West Africa). Actually, Adebayor last played for AC Semassi FC, a club in the city of Sokode, Togo.

His career highlights are playing for both the Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Arsenal fans however won’t forget the infamous knee slide celebration Adebayor executed towards the Gunners crowd after scoring in Man City colours.

8. Diego Godin

Aged 37, Diego Godin decided to go no further with playing professional football. His last appearance came for Argentinian side Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield. In 2010, after moving from Villarreal to Atletico Madrid, Diego Godin became a rock at the back for the Los Colchoneros. In his nine-year Madrid stay, Godin lifted three UEFA Super Cup and two UEFA Europa League titles.

7. Gianluigi Buffon

footballers who retired in 2023 Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon. (Courtesy: Sky Sports)

The goalkeeper has had a milestone of a career, defying age, calibre and expectations. Winning the 2006 World Cup with Italy only to see Juventus getting relegated after the “Calciopoli scandal”, and still helping his side to get promoted from Serie B instead of moving away from the drama – Buffon is a symbol of fight.

Buffon’s almost 30-year rich career stemmed from Parma and completed a full circle to end with Parma. Gianluigi Buffon’s words in his retirement announcement on Instagram sounded pretty emotional too! “That’s all folks! You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together,” he wrote.

6. Cesc Fabregas

Although Cesc Fabregas had two more years in his contract with Serie B side Como 1907, he decided to retire. Fabregas bossed the midfield of high-profile clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and his boyhood side FC Barcelona. Even though Fabregas played for the Gunners most, he could only lift Premier League titles with the Blues from West London.

5. Lucas Leiva

Born in Dourados, Brazil, Lucas Leiva was handed regular first-team opportunities starting in January 2005 with Brasileiro Série A side Grêmio. After Liverpool signed the defensive midfielder, Lucas went from struggling to find his foot in England to sustaining a decade in the kits of the Reds.

After the player was getting shorter periods of game-time, he moved to Lazio. His playing journey brought him back to his roots, Gremio in 2022. Unlike many players, Lucas had to untimely call his career because of a medical condition named cardiac alteration.

4. Joaquin Sanchez

footballers who retired in 2023 Joaquin Sanchez
Joaquin Sanchez. (Courtesy: EFE)

The Spanish winger mainly played in his homeland for different clubs. His only time playing football abroad was while he was at Fiorentina in Italy from 2013 to 2015. In LaLiga, Joaquin Sanchez made over 600 appearances that involve playing for Real Betis, Valencia and Malaga CF. The player was ever present in the Spanish first-tier competition from 2000 and decided to hang his boots after ending the 2022-23 season with Real Betis.

3. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale surely will be remembered for more than the “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.” flag antics. The Welsh wizard has scored inspiring goals and his heroics range from outpacing Marc Bartra after being hurled off the pitch to the bicycle kick in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool. Bale’s athleticism was above any other player when he was fit. The news of his retirement was made official by the start of 2023 in January.

2. Mesut Ozil

Just a month ago, Mesut Ozil turned 35. The playmaker will be an inspiration for whosoever wants to take up football and create chances for his teammates. Ozil has played for FC Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid and Arsenal notably. He announced his club career retirement in March while he was with Turkish Super Lig side Basaksehir FK.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

footballers who retired in 2023 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan on retirement day! (Courtesy: EPA)

People thought Zlatan was timeless like a piece of art. The kind of masterpiece art that may symbolically resemble with the unique Mona Lisa painting that is present in the Louvre Museum. If Leonardo da Vinci is a genius, so is Zlatan in world football.

Finally, the big Swede called his time off football and the world finally understood, that he is human just like all of us. A 41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic concluded the 2022-23 season with AC Milan only to end the final Hellas Verona game with his retirement announcement.

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