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10 Footballers Who Retired Too Soon

While making the decision to retire from professional football must be incredibly difficult, here are 10 footballers who might have hung up their boots too early, including one player who quit the sport to prepare for the world to end.

Click through the gallery above to see 10 players who perhaps retired too soon!

In 2006, ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, a 33-year-old Zinedine Zidane announced that he would be retiring from professional football after the tournament. The Frenchman was 34 years old in his last match, a loss to Italy in the final of the competition and a game in which he was infamously sent off.

While he certainly was not young when he called time on his career, Zidane was undoubtedly good enough to continue playing at the highest level. Today, though, he is one of the best managers in the world, having won 11 trophies in two spells with Real Madrid.

In what is a rather strange story, Argentina goalkeeper Carlos Roa makes our list for his retirement at just 29. Despite returning later, the then-Manchester United target, whom the Red Devils wanted to sign to replace the great Peter Schmeichel, reportedly hung up his boots to prepare for the world's end in 1999.

Eric Cantona fell out of love with the game at 30 years old, leading to his premature retirement from the sport, while legendary Dutch forward Marco van Basten made his bow at just 31 after missing about two years of play through injury.

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Bayern Munich icon Philipp Lahm is another big-name whom many thought stopped too soon, doing so at 33 years old off the back of a season in which he had played 38 games – to see more footballers who retired earlier than they perhaps should have, click through the gallery above!

Can you think of any other players who retired from football too early? Let us know in the comments section below.

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