In keeping with the laws of the jungle as new stars emerged a few legends of the game bid adieu this year.
If there’s one activity in life which teaches us that all good things must come to an end, it is sport. As heroes rise and legends are created, there is only one certainty, that their stars must fade. This phenomenon is as true for football as it is for other sports.
In keeping with the above, 2017 too has witnessed its fair share of retirements and farewells from the sport. Here, we take a look at some of the more notable stars to bid goodbye to the beautiful game.
Lampard’s thunderous strike made the evening for Chelsea against Munich
It all started in February when Chelsea legend Frank Lampard rejected the approaches of Swansea City and called it a day. Lampard’s career spanned nearly 21 years in which he represented Premier League clubs West Ham United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
The former England international who also represented his country with distinction and was a veteran of many World Cups, was known for his trademark late runs into the box and for his ability to score goals aplenty from the middle of the park. His departure from Chelsea may have been acrimonious, but he will doubtless go down as a true Blues legend.
Lahm is regarded as the best fullback of his generation
The versatile German World Cup-winner retired, unlike others, when he could have continued to play at the highest level for a few more seasons. The cutting inside from the right flank, the leadership, the disciplined defending were all hallmarks of a player who played equally well in a multitude of positions at the back and in midfield.
The defender’s most renowned trait was arguably his longevity at the very highest level. For, if there was one player who made age just a number it was Lahm.
Alonso’s forte had been long rangers throughout his career
The Spanish midfielder was one of the first names on the team sheet at all of his clubs for most of his career. Also a World Cup winner with Spain, Alonso represented many of the continent’s top clubs including Liverpool and Real Madrid, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League title, before spending the final years of his career in Bavaria
Dubbed the ‘conductor of the orchestra’ for his precision passing and his ability to spray the ball to all parts from his role as the deep-lying playmaker, the midfielder won many a crucial battle for his team in his area of the pitch, helping them to control the match and emerge triumphantly. Apart from dropping back to defend, Alonso also had the knack of scoring spectacular goals which greatly endeared him to the fans. Its fair to say, the game will be poorer without him.
Pirlo was also rated highly for his free-kicks
The Italian maestro had accumulated almost every laurel before he retired in November and that too with him being the protagonist of the team’s success. Pirlo won all a footballer wishes to. The midfielder represented the three big-wigs of Italian football- Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus and was a part of one of the greatest World Cup-winning teams that also had Francesco Totti.
Known for his vision and ability to pick out the final pass, the Italian was also lethal from free-kicks having scored a few sumptuous ones in his time. One of the factors that made the midfield ace a nightmare for defenders was his exemplary ball control and ability to run at the defenders. He was also adept at making late runs into the box and scoring pivotal goals.
Totti was regarded one of the most lethal finishers of his generation
This year, there was one retirement more remarkable than any other, that of the ‘Roman Emperor’ Totti. The Roma forward came off the bench in the 3-2 win against Genoa in early June, for his final professional game. Following the final whistle there were heart-rending scenes. Everyone at the Stadio Olimpico cried that day including the striker himself.
Having played all his life, for just one club, the Giallorossi, the forward scored 307 goals in 786 games for the Romans, serving as club captain for a long time in his over two decade-long career. Before retiring at the grand age of 40 he established himself as one of the most clinical finishers in the game who came alive in the box or at the slightest sniff of goal. Its certain that he will forever enjoy God-like status amongst the Roma faithful.
Kaka was famous for his solo runs during his career
Another Italian legend Kaka retired earlier this month. The creative midfielder who turned out for AC Milan and Real Madrid in his heyday was known for his silky feet and ability to pick out a pass as well as scoring magical goals.
Kaka made his name with the Milan outfit in the mid-2000s and was a key figure in their success in the Champions League under then boss Carlo Ancelotti. His exploits earned him earn a big money move to Los Blancos. However, the midfielder failed to live up to the hype in a Real Madrid shirt and his career went downhill from there, thanks to a combination of injuries and inconsistent performances. That notwithstanding though, he will go down as one of the game’s most prolific talents.