Manchester United and Holland goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar has announced his retirement from professional football at the end of the season.
The 40 year old goalkeeper has had a fantastic career which has seen him play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“Suddenly you just know it’s the time to go,” said Van Der Sar on his website.
“One minute you’re out (retiring). The next, you question it again. I thought about stopping maybe a year ago. It is a difficult process.
“After a defeat, I thought differently than after playing a few good games in a row. My age played no role. I am 40 years old, but I still feel fit.
“And then the decision came suddenly. Do not ask me how or why, but suddenly you know. That was sufficient.
“The time has come to devote greater attention to my family – although they have never complained. Everyone in the family has indeed always had to focus on me, but we have also had a lot in return.”
Van Der Sar’s wife, Annemarie collapsed with a brain haemorrhage in December 2009 and he almost retired then.
“I cannot really identify a time when it (the decision) happened,” said the former Ajax player. “Let’s just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment Annemarie had her stroke.
“She has fought back from it. We decided on another year in England and thus to stay at Manchester United. But, once engaged in the season, the thought of saying goodbye started to gnaw a bit more emphatically.”
Van Der Sar has 128 caps for Holland as well as 2 Champions League trophies, 3 Premier League trophies, a league cup, UEFA cup, 4 Eredivise (Dutch national league) trophies and three Dutch Cups in a career spanning over 20 years.
The keeper, who has played 245 times for Manchester United and also played for Fulhum in England, will take 18months to two years off before returning in a coaching capacity. He revealed Sir Alex Ferguson has already offered him a coaching roll.
Van Der Sar’s career highlight must be saving Nicholas Anelka’s penalty to win the Champions League for Manchester United in Russia.
But now United have lost their dependable keeper who will they replace him with? After their last great keeper Schmeichel left, they spend years trying to find a replacement.