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. 

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. "I can look forward to my next chapter which will hopefully be coaching. I'm doing a course at the moment."

One of the most celebrated players of his generation, Cole won everything there is to win in club football in England, including three ​Premier League titles, one Champions League and seven FA Cups. 

He controversially moved from ​Arsenal to ​Chelsea in 2006, but to many, the impact he made for both clubs overshadows the 'snake' tag he was branded with at the time.

A solid left-back both in defence and attack, some even said he was better than Roberto Carlos...*

*inclusion in this article does not necessarily indicate endorsement by 90min


To others, however, he wasn't even the best English left-back of his generation. 

Of course, we're dealing with football twitter here. You best believe there are a fair amount of Arsenal fans not in the mood to forgive or forget.

Outside of England, he spent two years with Roma and three with LA Galaxy before returning home to play for Derby. Despite his achievements in this time, however, the jetsetting portion of  his career will forever be remembered for that team photo.

​​Next Derby manager? Only time will tell.