Legendary footballers to retire in 2016


  1. Daniel Agger

A man blessed with incredible ball control and quality and one of the most decorated defenders in the Premier League, Liverpool legend Agger bid adieu to the game on 9th June 2016. Agger started off his career in Denmark with Brondby before making a big money move to then UCL champions Liverpool in 2006. At Anfield he became the fans very own “dagger”, making 232 appearances for the Merseyside club, despite facing regular injury setbacks. Agger was hampered by muscle problems in his first 3 seasons at the club making just 4 appearances in his first. Starting his Liverpool career all over again in 2008, the Dane became the heart of the Reds defence alongside Carragher, putting in solid performances game after game. Stats showed his importance to the team in 2013 as Liverpool kept a clean sheet only in games that he started. Fans loved him, not just because of his displays on the field, but for the passion he personified and the connection they shared. He gave a fitting reply to transfer speculations surrounding him in 2012 by tattooing YNWA on his fingers. A natural defender and genuine match winner, it’s scary to imagine what Agger could have achieved, had his body cooperated with him.

 


  1. Luca Toni

Italian Striker Toni was a footballing drifter as he represented 12 different Italian clubs throughout his career in addition to a 3-year stint at Bayern Munich. Hence it is only natural that he couldn’t become a legend at any other club, but he did become one for his country. In 47 appearances for the Azzurri, Toni netted 16 times, representing his nation in the 2008 Euros and the 2009 Confederations Cup. But his most notable contribution to Italian football was when he won the 2006 World Cup with them, earning a place in the tournament’s All-star team. Toni had a hugely successful club career as well, scoring 31 goals in his first season with Fiorentina and winning the domestic treble with Bayern. Toni’s last club was Verona, and it looked like it was his first, as he defied age to score 42 goals in his first two seasons there. He even finished the 2015 campaign as the oldest ever Seria A top scorer. A lethal finisher and a constant attacking threat, Italy has struggled to find someone to fill his boots since his retirement.

 


  1. Antonio Di Natale

From a journeyman to a one club legend, Di Natale was one of Udinese’s best ever players. Kicking off his professional career with Empoli in 1996, Di Natale quickly made his name as a potent striker in the Seria B. He propelled the club back into the top flight and made sure that they stayed there, for two seasons at least. At the end of the 04 season Empoli were relegated again, and Antonio moved on to Udinese where he spent the entirety of his remaining career. Chalking up 227 goals and 63 assists for the club in all competitions, Di Natale established himself one of the best strikers in the world. Using his incredible eye for goal and dangerous playmaking ability, the Italian could lead an attack from any position.It was this unique skill set that attracted interest from many clubs when he was at his peak, but Antonio rejected all offers and stayed loyal to Udinese, although he didn’t win much with the team. He proved himself a worthy asset for the Italian national team as well, netting 11 times in 42 appearances for his country. Di Natale won multiple individual honours during his club career, topping the Seria A goal scoring charts in 2010 and 11.Now the 6th highest goal scorer in Seria A history and the record appearance maker for Udinese, Di Natale has etched his name in history as one of the best strikers to have ever graced Italian football.

 


  1. Nemanja Vidic

Serbian centre-back Vidic had marshalled Spartak Moscow’s and the Serbian National team’s defence before Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to Old Trafford in 2006. He adapted to the Premier League quickly and formed one of the world’s best defensive partnerships with Rio Ferdinand. Dominating oppositions with his physicality and aerial ability, Ferdinand was an incredible defender and an even better leader. He regularly took charge at the back, urging his teammates to improve their positioning. This quality of his helped many young defenders and goalkeepers make their debut around him. Vidic won 5 PL titles and the UCL amongst other trophies during his time at Manchester. He was part of 4 PFA Team of the Seasons and collected the Player of the Season award twice. Owing to his composure and experience, United’s defensive rock was handed captaincy in 2010. Vidic continued to lead the side until he left for Inter at the end of his contract in 2014. Now a retired professional, the Serb can look back at his glittering career with joy, as he was at the very heart of Manchester United’s Golden Era.

 

1.

Steven Gerrard

You knew it was coming. Topping the list, it just had to be “Mr Liverpool”. Words aren’t enough to describe Stevie G’s contribution to the Reds, so there is no point trying. But here are some stats for you.

17 seasons at Anfield. 710 appearances. 186 goals. 11 trophies won

Captained the side for 12 seasons

Part of 8 PFA and 3 UEFA Team of the Years

Made the FIFA World XI 3 times

Finished as Liverpool’s top scorer on three occasions

Won Man of the Match in UCL Final, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and Ballon d’Or Bronze in 2005

Collected Goal of the season award in 2006.

2006 FA Cup Final named after him

Only footballer to score in the FA Cup Final, League Cup Final, UEFA Cup Final and UCL final and be on the winning side, all four times.

Yes, he is one of the best midfielders of his generation.