5 great players to have retired in 2021

Sergio Aguero, Barcelona, leaves the field against Alaves
Sergio Aguero, Barcelona, leaves the field against Alaves

The footballing world was lucky enough to witness the rise of multiple youngsters last year, with the likes of Dusan Vlahovic, Jude Bellingham and Pedri stealing all the limelight due to their exceptional talent. While the gain of such gems is certainly unmatchable, the beautiful sport also saw a hoard of legends call it a day in 2021. On that note, let’s take a look at 5 great players who took to retirement in 2021.

5. Samir Nasri

In his initial days, Samir Nasri was viewed as a certified wunderkind. His heroics with Marseille put the Frenchman on the map between 2004 and 2008, with Nasri attracting offers from multiple big clubs. While many believe that he never lived upto his original potential, they indeed undermine his time with Arsenal. With the Gunners, he proved to be a striker’s dream, creating chances left and right. He was even awarded the French footballer of the year for his exploits in 2010. Following two Premier League wins with Manchester City and a string of nomadic spells with lesser clubs, Nasri finally announced his retirement last year.

4. Sami Khedira

An underrated midfielder, Sami Khedira is another forgotten legend to have hung up his boots in 2021. After rising up the ranks at Stuttgart, the central midfielder was spotted by Real Madrid in 2010. In his five years with Los Blancos, the German tank emerged as the quintessential unsung hero, doing a vital job in the center of the park without reaping much praise. His ball-winning abilities and work rate made him stand out in his position, with Khedira extending his run at the top with Juventus. The industrious workhorse finally called it a day last year, retiring from the sport at Hertha Berlin. 

3. Wayne Rooney

The fact that Wayne Rooney is considered to not have fulfilled his potential despite the splendid career he has had is a testament to his playing abilities. The all-time top-scorer for both Manchester United and the English national team, Rooney was practically unplayable on his day. A lethal finisher, the Englishman also possessed creative qualities. Having scored 253 goals in 13 seasons with the Red Devils, he made an iconic return to boyhood club Everton for a solitary season. His legendary career finally came to an end last year, with Rooney taking up coaching responsibilities at Derby County.

2. Arjen Robben

Few wingers have instilled as much fear in defenders as Arjen Robben did in his playing days. The Dutchman is famously known for his signature move, to cut in from the right and bury it in the back of the net. Through this move and plenty others, Robben managed to rack up an impressive 209 goals and 166 assists in his career, with his best moments coming in a Bayern Munich jersey. He was instrumental in the Bavarians’ treble-winning season of 2013, even scoring the decisive goal to win them the Champions League title. With the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid also on his resume, Robben definitely had an astounding career.

1. Sergio Aguero

The most recent player to retire from the beautiful sport comes out in the top spot. While Sergio Aguero’s farewell was highly unexpected and abrupt, with the Argentinian forward having to forcefully quit football due to health reasons, his overall record is more than enough to earn him the label of a legend. After exploding onto the scene with Atletico Madrid, he made a switch to Manchester City in 2011. At the Etihad, Aguero broke all kinds of goalscoring records, becoming the foreign top-scorer of the Premier League with 184 goals. After a decade of wooing audiences with his exceptional performances, he joined Barcelona in 2021. Unfortunately for the footballing world, the legendary striker was forced to call it quits, having played just five games for the Blaugrana.