He played for 20 years, managed 687 appearances and lifted 19 major trophies, and former Chelsea, Arsenal and England left-back Ashley Cole has now announced his retirement from professional football.
The 38-year-old brought his final stint with Derby County to an end at the end of last season and has been without a club ever since, using his new-found free time to take his coaching badges and do some punditry on the side.
BREAKING NEWS: Ashley Cole has retired from football. https://t.co/jx1jalBDBZ— 90min (@90min_Football) August 18, 2019
It was on media duty that he announced his decision not to return to playing, in fact, speaking on Sky Sports' Super Sunday ahead of Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace.
"After hard thinking and consideration, it's time to hang my boots up," he said.
Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from professional football— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) August 18, 2019
Made his debut as a sub for Ray Parlour in Arsenal’s League Cup defeat at Middlesbrough in Nov 1999. Went on to make 385 PL apps, on the winning side 240 times (62.3%) pic.twitter.com/iQCU0gjcXF
Ashley Cole the best left back of my lifetime, what an incredible career. I was devastated when he left Arsenal and we never managed to get close to replacing him properly. Most FBs are either solid defensively or a threat going forward but he really could do everything— M (@Mobealla) August 18, 2019
In my eyes, Ashley Cole was the best Full Back of the Premier League era.— Ichokas (@Ichokas) August 18, 2019
Blessed that he played for my team, absolute legend
Happy retirement Ashley Cole. Best LB in the modern era. Chelsea legend. https://t.co/uGv063b4vl— Farees Rahman (@fareesrahman) August 18, 2019
Ashley is a gunner and always will be. Gave his best years to Chelsea perhaps but he's an Invincible. End of. His beef was with David Dein who promised one thing and put something else in a contract. The same thing the media hang Don King out to dry for.— 9/6/54 - 18/5/14 (@derocka) August 18, 2019
Great in attack as well as defence — Premier League (@premierleague) August 18, 2019
Thank you for the memories, Ashley Cole pic.twitter.com/3H0F952WrE
Ashley Cole was a better Left back than Roberto Carlos.— izuKwacha/Madrid$$ (@kwa_cha) August 18, 2019
Asides Ororo and Ronaldinho making him sit in greener pastures, he's a GOAT LB.
Great player but not as good as Cole defensively— dean young (@deanoyoung81) August 18, 2019
Excellent left back. Second best ever in Prem behind Leighton Baines.— Sid (@Sidneykidney4) August 18, 2019
Greatest LB in Arsenal history— Maximillian Papandrious (@Maihula_) August 18, 2019
Greatest LB in Chelsea history
Greatest LB in EPL history
Second to Maldini for greatest LB ever
An absolute snake
Ashley Cole https://t.co/2AVrVk09SF
Never liked him after he acrimoniously left The Arsenal— Stuart Wilson (@stu420) August 18, 2019
One of the iconic team photos — Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 18, 2019
Thank you, Ashley Cole pic.twitter.com/2jPfddTvoI
Next Derby manager? Only time will tell.
Ashley Cole to manage Derby next season. Putting money on this https://t.co/EIJrtWM7vd— ¡Robbo Carajo! (@_RobboParker) August 18, 2019