5 legends who retired too early

Arjun Singh Devgan
Eric Cantona is an iconic figure at Manchester United
Eric Cantona is an iconic figure at Manchester United / Mark Thompson/GettyImages

Football at present has become extremely competitive with players taking their fitness seriously in order to prolong their careers at the highest level. However, there have been a few top players in history who decided to hang up their boots from the sport early, and we take a look at five of them.

1. Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona of Manchester United holds aloft the Charity shield
Eric Cantona of Manchester United holds aloft the Charity shield / Michael Cooper/GettyImages

Eric Cantona revolutionised Manchester United on arrival in 1992 and there is no doubt that he is one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League.

The Frenchman spent only five seasons at Old Trafford, but he established himself as one of the best during that time, inspiring the club to four Premier League titles.

Cantona surprised the world when he hung up his boots at the age of 30, and since then has ventured into Beach Soccer and acting.

2. Marco van Basten

VAN BASTEN HOL / Ben Radford/GettyImages

Marco van Basten is widely regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the history of the sport, and he was unplayable during the 1980s and early 90s - netting a staggering 282 goals in just 379 club games for Ajax and AC Milan.

The Dutchman won three Ballon d'Or awards during his career but he struggled with ankle issues and was forced to retire early at the age of 31.

3. Michel Platini

Michel Platini
AS Photo Archive / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Michel Platini is recently remembered for his trying times as a former UEFA president, but he was arguably the best player in the world during his career - winning three Ballon d'Or awards and starring for Juventus and France.

It came as a surprise to many that the Frenchman decided to retire from the sport at the age of 32, as he still had a lot more to offer on the field.

4. Just Fontaine


Just Fontaine scored a staggering 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup and he was deadly during his career scoring 165 goals in 200 Ligue 1 matches. The striker unfortunately had retire from football at the age of 28 due to recurring injuries.

5. George Best

George Best
Best On Pitch / Keystone/GettyImages

George Best was one of the best players of his generation and was at his brilliant best for Manchester United, helping them win the 1968 European Cup and scoring 179 goals for them.

The superstar also won the Ballon d'Or award during his career, but sadly his life was consumed by alcoholism by the time he retired, for a second time, in 1974 aged 28.

While he returned back to football, he could not recapture his past glory and eventually retired for good nine years later.