After nearly twenty years in the professional game
Ashley Cole's retirement brings to end an illustrious career which saw the former Chelsea and Arsenal man win 16 trophies, including a record seven FA Cups, three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy.
Cole started his career at boyhood club Arsenal, making over 200 appearances in north London and helping the Gunners to finish the 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten.
BREAKING:— SPORTbible (@sportbible) August 18, 2019
Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from football:
The best left back ever to play in the Premier League?
What a career. pic.twitter.com/HRibrYtt3A
Arsenal's Invincible Season
Cole played a pivotal role in Arsenal's Premier League success in 2003/04, where his defensive contributions helped Arsenal to concede just 26 goals over the course of the season, keeping 15 clean sheets. He also contributed further up the field, getting four assists.
Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo At Bay (Twice!)
Cole was one of the standout performers in England's ill-fated UEFA Euro 2004 campaign and was named in the Team of the Tournament despite his team only making it to quarter-finals.
His personal highlight of that tournament was his performance against Portugal, successfully keeping an emerging Cristiano Ronaldo at bay throughout the game. England could only draw against the hosts after extra time though, and despite Cole converting a penalty in the shootout, the Three Lions crashed out of the tournament.
Cole would come back to face off against Ronaldo again two years later at the 2006 World Cup, once again keeping the forward at bay. Unfortunately, England once again lost to Portugal on penalties, and Cole ended his international career eight years later without a single trophy.
Screamer Against Sunderland
Cole wasn't exactly known for his goalscoring exploits over the course of his career, scoring just 21 goals in his 702 total appearances. Despite this, his sensational goal in Chelsea's 7-2 demolition of Sunderland in 2009/10 earned Chelsea's Goal of the Season award that season.
In the 21st minute, John Terry hoofed the ball down to a sprinting Cole, who turned to beat a Sunderland defender going in for a sliding tackle before beating the goalkeeper at the near post.
Injury troubles in 2009/10 didn't stop Cole from having an fantastic individual campaign, in which he scored four goals and made five assists as Chelsea won the Premier League title for the first time in four years.
Performance Against Barcelona
Cole gave what may have been his most impressive and perhaps his most important performance in Chelsea's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2011/12, when the Blues beat a Barcelona side which included the likes of Xavi,
2012 Champions League Final
Proving once again that he thrived under pressure, Cole gave a sensational defensive performance in Chelsea's Champions League final defeat of Bayern Munich, converting a decisive penalty as the Blues became the first London side to win the Champions League.
His performance cemented his status as a Chelsea legend and he left the club in high regard two years later.