The year 2023 has been quite remarkable for football fans all around the world so far. Lionel Messi left European football and joined Inter Miami in Major League Soccer. Similarly, many professional footballers who are often considered legends by football fans have taken retirement in this year.
In this article, we will talk about the top football stars who retired from football this year after entertaining fans for more than decades.
5. Gareth Bale (Wales)
Welsh superstar Gareth Bale retired from professional football early this year in January. Before hanging up his boots, he played for the MLS side LAFC. The 2022 World Cup was the last competition he participated in as a footballer. He started his career at the English club Southampton. However, his career reached its height when he played for Tottenham and Real Madrid. He was a key part of the trio BBC during his time at Real Madrid. He won several trophies at Madrid, including 5 Champions League trophies, 4 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 La Liga titles, and many more. He is also the record goal scorer for the Wales National Team with 41 goals. His best achievement with the Wales national team was when Wales reached the semifinals of Euro 2016.
4. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Former German midfielder Mesut Ozil retired from his professional football career on March 22, 2023. Before putting a full stop to his illustrious career, he played for the Turkish club Basaksehir. He played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe during his career, including Real Madrid and Arsenal. He won one La Liga title with Real Madrid and four FA Cups with Arsenal, respectively. However, his biggest achievement was winning the FIFA World Cup with the Germany national team in 2014.
3. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Often considered the greatest goalkeeper of our generation, Gianluigi Buffon officially retired this year on August 2. He started his professional career at the Italian club Parma in 1994 and ended his career at the same club in 2023. In this three-decade-long journey, he established himself as a legend of the game. He played for Juventus for the majority of his career before eventually joining PSG for two seasons. He won 10 Italian league titles and 1 French League title. He was also awarded the UEFA Player of the Year award in 2003. He was the main goalkeeper of the Italian national team that won the FIFA World Cup in 2006.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was another superstar who retired from football this year. Zlatan retired from football on July 1, 2023. He played for 10 clubs during his 24-year-long career. He started his career at the Swedish club Malmo and ended his career at AC Milan. He spent the majority of his career at the French club Paris Saint-Germain, where he won four league titles. He also won league titles in Spain with Barcelona and in Italy with Inter Milan and AC Milan. He has also won the prestigious Puskas Award for his goal against England. Zlatan is the top scorer of the Sweden National team with 62 goals.
1. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
The 32-year-old Belgian superstar, Eden Hazard, is the latest football figure to retire from football. He announced his retirement today on his social media account. He played in France with Lille, England with Chelsea, and Spain with Real Madrid. He won league titles in all of the countries where he played. He won the Europa League twice with Chelsea. He was a key asset of the golden generation of the Belgium national team. His greatest achievement with Belgium was winning the bronze medal in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. His transfer to Real Madrid from Chelsea didn’t work out well. He suffered multiple injuries at Real Madrid, which eventually led him to hang up his boots forever. However, he did win a Champions League with Real Madrid.