Sergio Kun Aguero during the press conference at Camp Nou Stadium, where he announced his retirement from playing football due to his doctors instructions on a heart related issue, December 2021.

5 brilliant players whose retirement had us cutting onions ft. Man City, Man Utd legends…

The news that Eden Hazard is considering quitting football at the age of 32 has made us extremely sad and got us thinking about other retirements that had us cutting onions.

Whether it’d be a string of injuries, loss of form or even underlying health conditions, some players ending their playing careers have left fans across football’s many divides with a melancholy feeling.

We’ve picked out five of football’s saddest retirements, featuring legends from both Manchester clubs and arguably the best striker of all time…

Sergio Aguero

At 33, Aguero had already seen out most of his career, winning multiple trophies and becoming one of the greatest Premier League goalscorers while playing for Manchester City.

But he still had ambitions to fulfil at Barcelona when forced into retirement in December 2021, following the diagnosis of a heart condition.

Announcing the decision to retire in an emotional interview, Aguero said: “I’m proud of the career I’ve had and am fortunate it is happening to me now rather than before.

“I don’t know what awaits me in the next life but I know there are a lot of people who love me and want the best for me.”


Ronaldo had it all – pace, strength, power and incredible finishing ability. But his career was also riddled with injuries.

The early numbers were incredible. 34 goals in 37 appearances in his only season at Barcelona in 1996-97. 34 goals in 47 appearances in his first season at Inter Milan. Put simply, this was the best striker on the planet.

But he would miss five months of the 1999-00 season due to a knee tendon injury.

Then, just six minutes into his comeback game, the forward suffered a horrific full rupture of his kneecap tendons and would miss much of the following two seasons.

Injury finally got the better of him at 34 years of age, and he announced his retirement. Despite a remarkable career, you often think about what could have been.

Eric Cantona

Cantona was known as one of football’s most maverick characters, but even his retirement at 30 in 1997 came as a shock.

The Frenchman had played a significant role in revolutionising Manchester United into the global force they went on to become under Sir Alex Ferguson.

His decision to retire was unexpected and sad at the same time. There has never been anyone like Eric since.


READ: The heart-warming letter Sir Alex Ferguson wrote to a retired Eric Cantona

Marco van Basten

Van Basten was one of the most feared strikers on the planet during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Dutchman scored nearly a goal a game over 172 appearances for Ajax before starring in an AC Milan side that won two European Cups – and who can forget his volley in the Euro 88 final?

Unfortunately, ankle problems plagued Van Basten’s career. His last official match for Milan was the 1992-93 Champions League final, which they lost 1-0.

After undergoing his third ankle surgery, he subsequently spent two years on the sidelines. The forward announced his retirement at the age of just 30.

It remains one of the saddest football retirements of all time.

Dean Ashton

A tackle from Shaun Wright-Phillips in England training back in 2006 was what ultimately ended the career of a really promising and exciting goalscorer.

Ashton eventually retired three years later having failed to regain fitness at West Ham. What might have been…

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