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315 voters

Soccer Players Who Retired in 2021

Updated September 15, 2021 2.3k votes 315 voters 7k views56 items

List RulesVote up the retired Soccer players based on their overall careers.

All the soccer players who retire in 2021 will leave a lasting legacy that lives on. Whether they're finishing their careers as top footballing stars or calling it quits after a few up-and-down seasons, all these great footballers retiring in 2021 have given the game their all. Look to this list regularly to see the best soccer players who retired in 2021, either because it was their time or because injuries cut a promising career short.

The first big name soccer star to choose retirement in 2021 was former Manchester United and England striker, Wayne Rooney, who played with four different teams over the course of his twenty-five-year career but made the biggest impact in Manchester, where he was one of the best strikers in soccer history while scoring 280 goals for club and country. 

Take a look at the recently retired soccer players list below and vote up the soccer stars you'll miss most, or those you think contributed the most to the game. Then check out all the athletes who've retired in 2021 so far.

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  • 1
    233
    71

    BirthplaceCroxteth, Liverpool, England

    NationalityEngland

    Announced retirement on January 15, 2021

    Career Titles:
    5 Premier League Titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013)
    FA Cup champion (2016)
    EFL Cup champion (2006, 2010, 2017)
    FA Community Shield champion (2007, 2010, 2011, 2016)
    UEFA Champions League champion (2008)
    UEFA Europa League champion (2017)
    FIFA Club World Cup champion (2008)

    Career Records:
    Manchester United all-time top scorer: 253 goals
    England national team all-time top scorer: 53 goals
    England national team all-time top scorer in competitive matches: 37 goals
    Most Premier League goals scored for one club: 183 goals for Manchester United
    Most Premier League away goals scored: 94 goals
    Most Premier League seasons reaching double figures in goals: 12
    Youngest player to start a competitive match for England: 17 years, 160 days
    Youngest player to score a goal for the England national team: 17 years, 317 days
    Most goals scored by an English player in the UEFA Champions League: 34 goals
    Most goals scored by an English player in the FIFA Club World Cup: 3 goals
    2nd-highest Premier League all-time top scorer: 208 goals
    3rd-highest Premier League all-time assist-provider: 103 assists
    Only footballer to have scored at least 200 Premier league goals and provided at least 100 Premier League assists
    2nd-Most capped England international: 120 caps
    Most capped outfielder for the England National Football Team: 120 caps
    All-time top goalscorer in Manchester Derby: 11 goals

    Career Awards:
    UEFA European Under-17 Championship Golden Player (2002)
    PFA Players' Player of the Year (2010)
    PFA Young Player of the Year (2005, 2006)
    PFA Fans' Player of the Year (2006, 2010)
    PFA Team of the Year (2006, 2010, 2012)
    Footballer of the Year (2010)
    Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year (2006, 2010)
    Manchester United Players' Player of the Year (2010)
    BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year (2002)
    Bravo Award (2003)
    Golden Boy Award (2004)
    UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament (2004)
    FIFA Young Player of the Year (2005)
    Premier League Player of the Season (2010)
    Premier League Player of the Month (February 2005, December 2005, March 2006, October 2007, January 2010)
    England Senior Men's Player of the Year (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015)
    FIFA Club World Cup Most Valuable Player of the Final (2008)
    FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (2008)
    FIFA World XI (2011)
    Premier League 20 Seasons Awards (1993 to 2012)
    Alan Hardaker Trophy (2006)
    Premier League Goal of the Month (November 2017)
    FWA Tribute Award (2017)
    MLS Player of the Month (October 2018)
    MLS Best XI (2018)
    D.C. United MVP (2018)
    D.C. United Golden Boot Winner (2018)
    MLS All-Star (2019)

  • 2
    119
    11

    BirthplaceBedum, Netherlands

    NationalityNetherlands

    Announced retirement on July 15, 2021

    Career Titles:
    Eredivisie champion (2003)
    Johan Cruyff Shield (2003)
    Premier League champion (2005, 2006)
    FA Cup champion (2007)
    Football League Cup champion (2005, 2007)
    FA Community Shield winner (2005)
    La Liga champion (2008)
    Supercopa de España champion (2008)
    Bundesliga champion (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
    DFB-Pokal champion (2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019)
    DFL-Supercup champion (2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018)
    UEFA Champions League champion (2013)
    UEFA Super Cup champion (2013)
    FIFA World Cup runner-up (2010)

    Career Awards:
    Johan Cruijff Prijs Award (2003)
    Premier League Player of the Month (November 2004)
    PFA Premier League Team of the Year (2005)
    ESM Team of the Year (2005, 2010, 2015)
    Bravo Award 2(005)
    Goal of the Month in Germany (January 2010, March 2010, April 2010, February 2013)
    VDV Bundesliga Player of the Season (2010)
    The kicker Man of the Year (2010)
    Footballer of the Year in Germany (2010)
    UEFA Best Player in Europe Award (2013 - 4th place, 2014 - 3rd place)
    UEFA Team of the Year (2011, 2014)
    UEFA Champions League Team of the Season (2014)
    FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball (2014)
    FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2014)
    FIFA World XI (2014)
    FIFA Ballon d'Or (4th place - 2014)
    Dutch Sportsman of the year (2014)

  • 3
    Midfielder
    97
    43

    BirthplaceStuttgart, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Announced retirement on May 19, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Euro Cup Team of the Tournament (2012)
    World Cup Champion (2014)
    La Liga Champion  (2012)
    Bundesliga Champion (2007)
    Serie A Champion (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
    Champions League Champion (2014) 
    Copa del Rey Champion (2011, 2014)
    Supercopa de España Champion (2012) 
    UEFA Super Cup Champion (2014) 
    FIFA Club World Cup Champion (2014)
    Coppa Italia Champion (2016, 2017, 2018)
    Supercoppa Italiana Champion (2018)

  • 4
    Forward, Midfielder
    106
    53

    BirthplaceNueva Loja, Ecuador

    NationalityEcuador

    Announced retirement on May 12, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Alan Hardaker Trophy (2010)
    PFA Team of the Year (2010)
    Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year (2012)
    Manchester United Player of the Year (2012, 2017)
    Manchester United Goal of the Year (2012)
    UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season (2017)
    Premier League Goal of the Month (September 2017)
    Copa Ecuador champion (2019)
    Premier League champion (2011, 2013)
    FA Cup champion (2016)
    EFL Cup champion (2010, 2017)
    FA Community Shield champion (2010, 2013, 2016)
    UEFA Europa League champion (2017)

  • 5
    Midfielder
    66
    41

    BirthplaceRosenheim, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Announced retirement on May 22, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship Golden Player (2008)
    UEFA European Under-19 Championship (2008)
    Summer Olympic Games Silver Medal (2016)

  • 6
    Midfielder
    54
    36

    BirthplaceTourcoing, France

    NationalityFrance

    Announced retirement on February 19, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    UEFA European Under-19 Championship (2005)
    FA Cup runner-up (2016)
    Ligue 1 Champion (2014, 2015)
    Coupe de France Champion (2015)
    Coupe de la Ligue Champion (2014, 2015)
    Ligue 1 Champion (2011)
    Coupe de France Champion (2011)

  • 7
    Defender, Midfielder
    49
    30

    BirthplaceRosenheim, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Announced retirement on May 22, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship Golden Player (2008)
    UEFA European Under-19 Championship (2008)
    Summer Olympic Games Silver Medal (2016)
    Bundesliga champions (2011, 2012)
    DFB-Pokal Champions (2012, 2017)
    DFL-Supercup Champions (2013, 2014)
    UEFA Champions League runner-up (2013)

  • 8
    Defender
    39
    21

    BirthplaceNottingham, United Kingdom

    NationalityJamaica

    Announced retirement on May 21, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Premier League Champion (2016)
    FA Cup Champion (2021)
    Football League Championship Champion (2014)
    Football League One runner-up (2008)
    CONCACAF Gold Cup runner-up (2015)
    PFA Team of the Year (2011, 2013, 2014 - Championship; 2016 - Premier League)
    Football League Team of the Decade (2005-2015)
    Leicester City Player of the Season (2013)
    CONCACAF Best XI (2016)

  • 9
    Midfielder
    30
    13

    BirthplaceMadrid, Spain

    NationalitySpain

    Announced retirement on June 30, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Spanish Player of the Year (2010)
    Serie A Team of the Year (2013)
    UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season (2014, 2015)
    Coppa Italia runner-up (2014)
    UEFA Europa League runner-up (2020)

  • 10
    44
    30

    BirthplaceMinas, Uruguay

    NationalityUruguay

    Announced retirement on June 10, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    352 Career Goals
    Copa América Winner (2011)
    Argentine Primera División Winner (2001, 2008)
    Played with a Record 31 Club Teams (1993-2021)

  • 11
    54
    41

    BirthplaceDerventa, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    NationalityCroatia

    Announced retirement on April 1, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    FIFA World Cup runner-up (2018)
    Lokomotiv Moscow player of the year (2015)
    Prva HNL champion (2006, 2007)
    Croatian Cup champion (2007)
    Croatian Super Cup champion (2006)
    Football League Cup runner up (2009)
    Russian Premier League champion (2018)
    Russian Cup champion (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021)
    Russian Super Cup champion (2019)

  • 12

    BirthplaceCopenhagen, Denmark

    NationalityDenmark

    Announced retirement on June 1, 2021

    Career Titles:
    Serie A champion (2013)
    DFB-Pokal champion (2015)
    DFL-Supercup champion (2015) 
    Eliteserien champion (2017, 2018)
    Norwegian Football Cup (2018)
    Mesterfinalen champion (2017, 2018)

    Career Awards:
    Danish Under-17 Player of the Year (2004)
    Danish Talent of the Year (2007)
    Danish Football Player of the Year (2009)
    Danish Goal of the Year (2009)
    Eliteserien top scorer (2017)

  • 13
    27
    13

    BirthplaceMaryport, England

    NationalityEngland

    Announced retirement on May 31, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Football League Two champion (2006)
    Football League One champion (2011)
    EFL Championship runner-up (2017)
    Football League Championship Golden Boot (2013)
    PFA Team of the Year (2013 - Championship)
     

  • 14
    Goalkeeper
    17
    3

    BirthplacePorto Alegre, Brazil

    NationalityBrazil

    Announced retirement on March 1, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Bola de Prata - Top Player in Brazil (2011)
    Campeonato Paulista Team of the Year (2015)
    Campeonato Gaúcho champion (1999)
    Copa Sul champion (1999)
    Campeonato Goiano champion (2001)
    Campeonato Paranaense champion (2004)
    Copa do Brasil champion (2011, 2015)
    Campeonato Brasileiro Série A champion (2016, 2018)
    Campeonato Brasileiro Série B champion (2009, 2013)
    Copa do Nordeste champion (2020)
    743 career appearances
    154 career clean sheets

  • 15
    Defensive midfielder
    23
    11

    BirthplaceAldenhoven, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Announced retirement on May 29, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    UEFA European Under-17 Football Champion (2009)
    Fritz-Walter-Medaille (2009)
    Honorary Citizen of Aldenhoven (2009)

  • 16
    29
    19

    BirthplacePergamino, Argentina

    NationalityArgentina

    Announced retirement on May 21, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    FIFA World Cup runner-up (2014)
    Copa América runner-up (2016)
    UEFA Champions League runner-up (2016)
    Argentine Primera División Champion (2008, 2011)

  • 17
    Goalkeeper
    24
    14

    BirthplaceVilagarcía de Arousa, Spain

    NationalitySpain

    Announced retirement on May 20, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    344 Career Appearances
    83 Career Clean Sheets

  • 18
    Centre back
    29
    20

    BirthplaceAbidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

    NationalitySwitzerland

    Announced retirement on June 4, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Football League Cup runner-up (2007, 2011)
    Swiss Sports Awards - Best Newcomer (2006)
    76 career appearances for Switzerland
    Played in 3 World Cups and 2 European Championships

  • 19
    Attacking midfielder
    20
    10

    BirthplaceIrvine, Scotland

    NationalityScotland

    Announced retirement on July 1, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Scottish Premier League champion (2009, 2010, 2011)
    Scottish Cup champion (2009)
    Scottish League Cup champion (2010, 2011)
    Scottish Championship champion (2021)
    SFWA Young Player of the Year (2006)
    SPFA Young Player of the Year (2007)
    SPL Young Player of the Year (2006, 2007)
    Scottish Premier League Player of the Month (March 2006, October 2010)
    Scottish Premiership Player of the Month (September 2018)
    Scottish Premier League Young Player of the Month (August 2005, January 2006, March 2007)

  • 20
    Forward
    13
    1

    BirthplaceSèvres, France

    NationalitySenegal

    Announced retirement on September 13, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Süper Lig Champion (2017, 2020)
    Premier League Player of the Month (December 2011)
    Chinese FA Cup Most Valuable Player (2015)
    Chinese Super League Team of the Year (2016)

  • 21
    Midfielder
    19
    9

    BirthplaceParque Patricios, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    NationalityArgentina

    Announced retirement on May 27, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Copa América Team of the Tournament (2004)
    South American Team of the Year (2004)
    Portuguese Golden Ball (2009)
    FC Porto Player of the Year (2006)
    Copa América runner-up (2004, 2007)
    Summer Olympic Games gold medalist (2004)
    Primera B Nacional champion (2000)
    Argentine Primera División champion (2003, 2004)
    Copa Libertadores champion (2015)
    J.League Cup / Copa Sudamericana Championship (2015)
    Primeira Liga champion (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013)
    Taça de Portugal champion (2006, 2009)
    Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira champion (2012, 2013)
    Ligue 1 champion (2010)
    Coupe de la Ligue champion (2010, 2011, 2012)
    Trophée des Champions (2010, 2011)
    Campeonato Paranaense champion (2020)
    Copa do Brasil champion (2019)
    Copa Sudamericana champion (2018)

  • 22
    27
    20

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Announced retirement on March 4, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    NAACP Image Award for Male Athlete of the Year (2012)
    MLS All-Rookie Best XI (2012)
    MLS Supporters' Shield (2020)
    Philadelphia Union's all time leader in minutes played

  • 23

    BirthplaceVitebsk, Belarus

    NationalityBelarus

    Announced retirement on May 8, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    Belarusian Cup Champion (2003)
    Belarusian Premier League top scorer (2003)
    Ukrainian Premier League champion (2004)
    Ukrainian Super Cup winner (2004)
    Russian Cup champion (2010)
    78 Career Appearances for Belarus
    Belarus national team 2nd most goals scored all time

  • 24
    Goalkeeper
    20
    13

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Announced retirement on June 1, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    League of Ireland Champion (2013)
    FAI President's Cup Champion (2014)
    100 Career Appearances
    22 career clean sheets

  • 25
    23
    17

    BirthplaceBacknang, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Announced retirement on June 30, 2021

    Career Achievements:
    DFL-Supercup Champion (2013)
    UEFA Champions League Runners-up (2013)