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Former Liverpool striker, Djibril Cisse, has recently revealed that he would love to come out of retirement and is desperate to reach the 100 goal-mark in Ligue 1 – a figure that the ex-forward is just short of achieving by four.
Indeed, the 38-year-old is so desperate, that he told Sky Sports that he would even be willing to play for free just to try and realise that dream. He has already had two spells as a professional footballer, though, having initially retired in 2015 because of injury but returned two years later for a spell in one of Switzerland’s lowly leagues.
Cisse’s remarks got us thinking. Which footballers, perhaps, retired a little early or still had something to give in the game?
Here are five that we feel could have done a lot more with their careers if they had decided against hanging up the boots and continued to play the game.
- Alan Shearer
When it comes down to Alan Shearer, we are not talking about his club days at Newcastle United, as he did in 2006 at 35 (although there could be some argument he could have played on a little more if he did not suffer the knee ligament injury).
No, the fact that he retired from England duty at the age of 29 was perhaps a real shame and one that many fans had called for him to reconsider a few years after. The Three Lions may have had a poor showing at Euro 2000 but there is a case to be made that Shearer could have been special during the following World Cup and the next European Championships if he continued.
2. Jamie Carragher
Like Shearer, Jamie Carragher decided to hang up his international boots a lot earlier than his days at Liverpool were over. The former defender decided to call time on his England career in 2007 at the age of 29, albeit temporarily.
Having suffered withdrawal symptoms and succumbing to pleas from Fabio Capello, he made a return to the set-up in 2010 for the World Cup but decided to retire again following the conclusion of the tournament.
Perhaps the penalty miss above played on his mind prior to his initial retirement?
3. Carlos Roa
The Argentine goalkeeper decided to take the gloves off permanently after finding religion at the ripe age of 29 in 1999. Carlos Roa was an exceptional talent in between the sticks and had a standout World Cup a year prior as he kept a clean sheet in all three group matches and condemned England to misery as he was the hero for the South American’s in the penalty shoot-out.
4. Hidetoshi Nakata
Perhaps one, if not ‘the’, most famous footballers to have come out of Japan, Hidetoshi Nakata had the world at his feet when he was on the ball. Having spent most of his playing days in Italy, he took the plunge and joined Bolton Wanderers for a season in the Premier League before deciding to retire and pursue a career in modelling, perhaps to further members his reputation as the ‘Japanese David Beckham’. Weighing it up, it might have been easy to see why he decided to do what he did?
5. Eric Cantona
Eric Cantona was at the height of his career when he decided to make the questionable decision to retire at the age of 30 back in 1997. Then again, if your heart is no longer in it, then what is the point of doing it? That was the thought of Cantona and so he decided he could not play any more, despite believing he could have played for another ten years or so physically.
Nevertheless, he found a career after scoring goals and winning numerous awards as an actor as a French farmer pushing Kronenbourg and as a fan of ‘Joga Bonito’. Perhaps that is where Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his inspiration from?