Retirement is part of every sport, but there comes a time when professional players look at themselves and decide that now is the right time to hang up the boots for good.
Some athletes have retired too early, like Yao Ming when he left NBA at the age of 30. Ming was a phenomenal player, going down as one of the most underrated NBA players of all time (you can check a full list here:
In football it’s also something that often happens. Former World Cup and Premier League champion Andre Schurrle, for example, announced hisretirement at the age of 29
Some have had second thoughts about retirement, with Paul Scholes being one of many that have come out of retirement to offer their services.
Which players have retired too early when they could have offered even more to the clubs that they were at during the time?
Eric Cantona is still regarded as the king by Manchester United fans around the world, but there is still the question of what if. The French star retired in 1997 at the age of 30 and could have easily played for a couple more years.
Cantona was still in his prime when he announced his retirement and would have certainly been a part of some of the most mesmeric teams should he have held fire on calling time on his career.
He would have likely been a part of the United team that won the treble in 1998-99, and would have also got a World Cup winners’ medal in 1998. However, few could argue against the legacy that he left in the sport, as he won the Premier League on four occasions, and won the FA Cup twice.
King Eric mighthave had a few brawls off pitch
that made him a ‘bad boy’ of the game, but he sure was a hell of a player.
He revolutionised the English game for the better, and without him, there wouldn’t have been the influx of talented foreign players that has made the Premier League the greatest league in the world.
If you ask football fans of a certain age who the best player that ever lived was, then their answer would always be George Best. Best was one of the greatest players to ever don the red shirt of Manchester United, and was the player that began the legacy of the now immortal number seven shirt.
He played for Manchester United for eleven seasons and made 470 appearances and scored 170 goals.
During that stint, he won two First Division titles and the European Cup in 1968. That European Cup success was the standout moment for Best, as he scored one of the goals in the 4-1 success for United, which marked the first time that an English club won the immortal trophy.
Nonetheless, Best announced in 1974 that he would be retiring. He retired at the peak of his powers, and while he did return in 1975, he was never the same player again.
Alan Shearer retired from club football at the age of 36 after an incredible ten years with Newcastle United. He retired as the leading scorer for his boyhood club, but England fans often questioned why Shearer would retire from the international game so early in his career.
The Newcastle number nine retired from Three Lions duty after England’s disaster at the European Championships in 2000. However, that decision had huge implications on the Three Lions in the future.
Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen’s run as England’s strike partnership was littered with injury problems for one of the two of them at different times, and Sven Goran Eriksen would have given anything to call on Shearer during those difficult times.
To make matters worse, Shearer would score 62 goals across three seasons between 2001-02 and 2003-04, which would have made his a starter for the Three Lions going into Euro 2004.
England fans were left to ponder, but there is no question that there would have been a new threat should Shearer have been available for international selection.
There you have it, a list of the 3 best players to retire too soon? Who else did we miss and could have been included in this list?