Retirement is a tricky and emotional business for all sportspersons, footballers included, who have the shortest shelf-life among all professionals. Suddenly bidding goodbye to the life they had been known for, with the attendant fame, glory and money, is one of the toughest calls to make in a sportsperson's career, especially a footballer's.
While most top footballers return to the sport in some form, either as a manager or an agent, the pure adrenaline rush of being out on the field can never be replaced or replicated.
5 great footballers who could be retiring in 2021
There have been footballers like Eric Cantona, who chose to leave the sport at a relatively young age while still on top of their game, to pursue other interests. However, the current trend among big-name footballers is to further their careers in leagues in Asia or the US, where the demands on their bodies is less strenuous, but the money earned is good.
In this article, we will look at five such footballers, most of them being based in Europe and battling it out gallantly in the top leagues, who might just decide to call it a day come next year.
So, without further ado, let's get started.
#5 Lukasz Piszczek
A two-time Bundesliga champion with Borussia Dortmund, Lukasz Piszczek has been a faithful servant of the German club since 2010-11 and played an instrumental role in them becoming German champions as well as reaching the Champions League final in 2013.
The Polish right-back had actually announced that he would quit the game in 2020, before signing a one-year extension that keeps him at the club till 2021. When he finally calls time on his career, he will definitely go down as a Dortmund legend, one who did not always hog the limelight but was a pillar on which the team's successes were built upon.
#4 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Rossoneri are on top of the 2020-21 Serie A table, winning five of their opening six games of the season, but their 24-game winning streak in all competitions recently came to an end with a defeat in the Europa League against Olympique Lyon.
We are, after all, mere mortals, but Zlatan is well, Zlatan. Despite being one of the greatest footballers of all time, one with almost superhuman physical attributes, age is bound to catch up with the 39-year-old player at some point. He might just choose to go out on a great high if Milan manage to end Juventus' hegemony over the Scudetto.
The only reason he might want to play on? If he thinks he can win the Champions League with Milan, one major piece of silverware missing from his cupboard...or because he just wants to go on playing, because, well, he is Zlatan!