Ibrahimovic, Buffon and Godin: Football legends who retired in 2023

Numerous sportsmen and women retired during the year, which was marked by stars hanging up their boots after a long career.
The names of important players predominate among the outstanding athletes who ended their careers in 2023. A number of other veteran athletes (with the exception of football, which has little relevance to the Olympics) will wait until the Paris Games to announce their retirement.
One of the footballing legends who retired after making his mark on an era was 45-year-old Gianluigi Buffon.

Considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, the 2006 World Cup winner with Italy announced his retirement in August after playing the last two seasons for Parma, currently a Serie B (second division) team where Buffon began his career at the age of 17 in 1997.

Bitter farewell for Chiellini

His Juventus team-mate and compatriot Giorgio Chiellini also said goodbye. The charismatic centre-back, winner of the 2021 European Championship and nine Scudetti, hung up his boots at the age of 39 after losing the MLS final in December with Los Angeles FC, the American club he had been playing for since June 2022.
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who spent much of his career in Italy, bowed out in June at the age of 41 after a final season in the elite with AC Milan.
Due to repeated injuries, 'Ibra' was barely able to play in his final season.

With a career spanning more than two decades, Uruguayan Diego Godín, 37, played his last professional match in July. He did so in the shirt of Vélez Sarfield.
The former Atletico Madrid captain was one of the most outstanding players of the brilliant generation, also including Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani, who made Uruguay champions of the Americas in 2011 and took them to fourth place at the 2010 World Cup.
Spain's David Silva, who won the World Cup with Spain at the same World Cup, announced in July that his successful career was coming to an end after a serious left knee injury.
Early retirements for Bale and Hazard
Also leaving the pitch after a long career was 38-year-old American Megan Rapinoe.
Considered one of the best players of the 21st century, and also known for her feminist activism, the USA captain suffered a bitter farewell when she missed the penalty that sealed her country's elimination against Sweden in the last 16 of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Brazil's Joao Miranda, Spain's Cesc Fabregas, Germany's Mesut Ozil and Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko are other notable players who have ended their professional careers.
More surprising were the retirements of other players, much younger than those mentioned above.
After failing to make it to the World Cup in Qatar, where his team were eliminated in the group stage, Welsh striker Gareth Bale, 33, announced in January that he was retiring from the game "with immediate effect".
Another former Real Madrid player, talented Belgian striker Eden Hazard, 32, announced in October that he was hanging up his boots after a disappointing last few seasons in Spain due to injury.

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