Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville retires from football with immediate effect

Two-time Champions League winner ends 19-year career
Long-serving Manchester United defender Gary Neville has announced his retirement from the game with immediate effect.

Goal.com UK exclusively reported last month that the veteran had decided to call an end to his playing career this season.

Neville joined United in 1991 and demonstrated his loyalty to the club and the manager by seeing out his career at Old Trafford.

He came through the ranks with the famed golden generation consisting of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, and was famously part of the 1992 FA Cup Youth trophy winning team.

The 35-year-old played a staggering 602 games for the club but was never known for his goal scoring ability notched seven goals in that period.

But what he lacked in goals he certainly made up for in trophies and silverware.

Neville can boast winning the Champions League twice, eight Premier League medals, three FA Cup successes, two League Cup trophies, the Intercontinental Cup and Fifa Club World Cup, and became United club captain in 2005.

At international level his record was just as impressive, winning 85 caps for England between 1995 and 2007, playing in two World Cups – 1998 and 2006 – and three European Championships consecutive European Championships from 1996 onwards.

After much deliberation, Neville told the club's official website: "I have been a Manchester United fan all my life and fulfilled every dream I've ever had.

“Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end; however, it comes to us all, and it's knowing when that time is and for me that time is now.

“I have played in the most incredible football teams, playing with some of the best players in the world as well as against them and I have been lucky to have been part of the team's achievements and the club's great success.

"There are so many people I want to thank and, of course, top of that list is Sir Alex. He has given me so many opportunities and countless support over the last 20 years - he is truly one of the greatest managers - and I have to thank him for that.

"There have also been so many great players that I have had the privilege to train and play alongside. The experiences we've shared will be with me for the rest of my life.

“Also, I'd like to thank all the coaches I have played under from youth level right through to now, who have guided me through my playing days.

“And finally, the fans, who have always shown me unbelievable support. They know how special they are to me and this club.

"I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward. However, the most important thing now is for the club to continue with the success that is synonymous with Manchester United and I will be supporting them all the way, as a fan."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson lavished praise on the durable right-back, insisting that he is one of the best professionals he ever had the pleasure of working with.

“His impact on the club in general has been huge; his presence in the dressing room and leadership qualities have been an asset to me as a manager,” Ferguson said.

“All the young players who have sought his advice on many matters, particularly on contract issues owe him a great debt.”

And team-mate Rio Ferdinand had this to say on Twitter: “Gary Neville has retired from football...the best right-back in Premier League history #fact. Gonna be a loss to our dressing room #banter.”

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