Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar will end his career once the current season concludes, the 40-year-old veteran confirmed on Thursday. He's been pondering retirement since his wife, Annemarie, suffered a stroke in December, 2009. He has played for United since a transfer from Fulham in 2005.
"I cannot really identify a time when it [the decision] happened," said Van der Sar. "Let's just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment Annemarie had her stroke.
"She has fought back from it. We decided on another year in England and thus to stay at Manchester United. But, once engaged in the season, the thought of saying goodbye started to gnaw a bit more emphatically."
His arrival ended failed attempts to adequately replace Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel, who left the club in 1999 and left in his wake a trail of successors, including U.S. goalie Tim Howard, Mark Bosnich, Fabien Barthez and Ricardo, who for various reasons didn't measure up.