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End of an era: 5 retiring greats

This season has seen many greats of football announce that this will be their last. Here we look at some of the big names that will be hanging up their boots.

David Beckham's announcement of his retirement from the game yesterday came as a shock to many. It also signalled an end of an era.

Many of the superstars of the mid nineties to late noughties will be hanging up their boots at the end of the season.

From midfield generals like Michael Ballack to great managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, football will be lossing an array of personalities that lit up the world of football throughout the years.

Below we take a look 5 players that have called it a day this season

Paul Scholes

The most complete midfielder of his generation, the one-club man has played his whole career at Manchester United. He retired a couple years ago but returned last season when Sir Alex came calling. One to stay away from the limelight, Zinedine Zidane described Scholes as his "toughest opponent".

David Beckham

Along with being a global icon, Beckham has won the more trophies abroad than any Brit ever. Gifted with one of the most versatile right foots ever, his passing ability was at times beyond belief. He has captained and made more appearances than any other outfield player for the English national team.

Michael Ballack

At one point in his career, Ballack could have claimed the crown of the world's best player. He was the embodiment of the German game; true grit and effeciency mixed with brilliant goal scoring ability. He spent 4 years in the Premier League with Chelsea, but his heart has always remained in his homeland.

Andriy Shevchenko

In England he may be regarded as somewhat a flop, due to his unsuccessful tenure at Chelsea. But the Ukranian is the third most prolific goalscorer in the Champions League with 59 goals. His best form was at AC Milan (he is the second most prolific player in their history) and is regarded a national treasure in Ukraine.

Michael Owen

History will remember the Babyfaced Assassin for his incredible acheivements early in his career, rather than the disappointment that followed. Owen won the Ballon d'Or in 2001 and tranfered to Real Madrid's Galacticos in 2004 from Liverpool. But we'll always remember him for that wondergoal against Argentina at just 18 years old.

Yet, Giggsy remains...

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