Ronaldinho, Drogba and the top players who retired in 2018

Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich men are among some of the footballers around the world retiring at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.


After the conclusion of league seasons in Europe and around the world, some players have played professional football for the final time.

From the top of the Premier League to as far as Brazil and Finland, we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest names to be retiring from football now the season has drawn to a close.


Former Brazil and Barcelona forward Ronaldinho retired from professional football, his agent announced in January.


Roberto Assis, who is also the player's brother, officially confirmed the forward called time on his playing career at the age of 37.

Ronaldinho's career highlights include winning the World Cup in 2002, the Champions League in 2006 and claiming the Ballon d'Or in 2005.

Didier Drogba

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba confirmed his retirement from playing in November, ending "an amazing 20 years".

The Ivory Coast striker, 40, had two spells at Chelsea, scoring 164 goals in 381 games and winning four Premier Leagues and the 2012 Champions League.


In 2015, he joined Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact and then became player-owner of Phoenix Rising.

He scored 65 times in 105 caps for the Ivory Coast, playing in three World Cups and being named African Footballer of the Year twice.

Michael Carrick

“A big player is leaving, but a big man is staying,” said Jose Mourinho as he handed Carrick his training wear at the end-of-season presentation.

Carrick undertook among Mourinho’s coaching staff after retiring, and now working with newly appointed coach Ole Gunner Solskjaer, having undergone a procedure for an irregular heart rhythm earlier this season.


Per Mertesacker

“Some days you realise everything is a burden, both physically and mentally, but you have to deliver without a doubt, the pressure is very intense,” said Mertesacker when discussing his retirement.

He will become the head of the academy under new Arsenal boss Unai Emery, after over 500 professional appearances at club level and 104 caps for Germany.

Xabi Prieto

One-club man Prieto is the record league appearance holder for Real Sociedad, and has lined up for them over 500 times in all competitions across his 15-year career in the first-team.


For their final match of the season, Sociedad replaced their crest with an image of Prieto to honour his incredible service.

Fitting tribute? Sociedad to wear Xabi Prieto's face as their crest for the upcoming game against Leganés, his last before retiring after 14 years.

Tom Starke

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Starke initially retired last season, but he stepped back into the fold from his coaching role following Manuel Neuer’s injury.

The German has an impressive record of winning 14 trophies in his six years at Bayern, during which time he played just 12 times, averaging over one trophy per match.


Roman Weidenfeller

In complete contrast, Weidenfeller is finally hanging up his gloves after an incredible 16-year spell at Borussia Dortmund.

The goalkeeper has made 453 appearances in all competitions since joining as Jens Lehmann’s replacement in 2002, and also has a World Cup winner’s medal to his name after being part of the Germany squad which lifted the trophy in Brazil.

Stefan Kiessling

Another long-serving German, forward Kiessling joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2006 after they fought off attention from Bayern Munich and Arsenal to secure his services.


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