Early Retirement: A Loss to Football

Last update: 2020/09/29

A look at some of the players who retired from football early due to injuries and other conditions.

Sebastian Diesler

Diesler started his career with Borussia Mönchengladbach, before moving in 1999 to Hertha Berlin after a season. He played there for three seasons, before joining Bayern Munich in 2002, having signed a pre-contract the previous year. Injuries however led to prolonged periods when he was unable to play causing him to suffer depression. Repeated injuries forced a retirement in January 2007 at the age of 27.

Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba started his career with Arsenal, though did not play any professional games for the club. A year was also spent on loan at Birmingham City, before joining them permanently for one season in 2007. A move to Bolton Wanderers came in 2008 and Premier League football. However in March 2012, Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane after suffering a cardiac arrest. He officially retired in August of the same year following medical advice.

Brian Laudrup

Laudrup began his playing career with Brøndby, before moving to Bayer Uerdingen for a year. He joined Bayern Munich, before moving to Italy with Fiorentina for two years, the second being a loan spell at AC Milan. In the mid-1990s he joined Rangers for his longest stint at a club, with later spells at Chelsea, Copenhagen and Ajax with a retirement in 2000 at 31 years old. His spell at Ajax involved fifteen goals in thirty-eight games, but injuries forced an end to his career.

Rubén de la Red

Rubén de la Red started his playing career in the Real Madrid youth ranks, before moving to Real Madrid B and finally the first team in 2005. In 2007, he joined Getafe on loan for a season before returning to the Spanish capital the following year. However, his time in the team did not last long and in October 2008, he collapsed during a Spanish cup game. Over the next two years, his career was placed on hold however tests proved inconclusive. He announced his retirement at 25 in November 2010.

Marc Overmars

Marc Overmars played for a number of big teams including Ajax (where he won the Champions League), Arsenal, and Barcelona where he moved in 2000 alongside Emmanuel Petit. His career at Barcelona was stunted at times by more injuries in the four years he was there with a persistent knee injury causing him to announce his retirement from football in July 2004. He returned for a short spell in July 2008 with Go Ahead Eagles, however his knee injury was a continued problem.

Pierluigi Casiraghi

Casiraghi started his football career back in 1985, and subsequently played for Juventus and Lazio in Italy. He moved to the English Premier League with Chelsea in 1998. The number of games he played was restricted, however his career was cut short in a game against West Ham were he sustained a cruciate ligament injury. He underwent ten operations but was still unable to make a comeback and his contract ended in March 2002.

Stuart Holden

Stuart Holden started his professional career at Sunderland before heading to Houston Dynamo where he spent three years. He moved to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers in 2010 and played for four seasons in England, also spending some time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. A number of devastating injuries however saw him leave Bolton in 2014, and finally confirm his retirement in 2016.

Hidetoshi Nakata

Starting at Bellmare Hiratsuka in 1995, Nakata earned a move three years later to Perugia. After a year and a half, he had a big money move to Roma where he won the league. His stint at Roma lasted eighteen months, before he moved on to Parma, Bologna on loan, and eventually Fiorentina. His final club was with Bolton Wanderers who he joined on loan, before retiring in 2006 after falling out of love with football.

David Bentley

Coming to prominence for his performances at Blackburn Rovers between 2006 and 2008, David Bentley began his career with Arsenal, taking in loan spells at Norwich City and Blackburn before a permanent move. He earned a £15 million pound move to Tottenham Hotspur though could never regain the form that got him seven England call-ups. Loan moves to Birmingham City, West Ham United, FC Rostov and Blackburn again failed to reignite his game, and he retired at thirty citing a loss of passion for the sport.