Manchester United FC goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has confirmed he will retire from football at the end of the season.
The 40-year-old, capped 130 times by the Netherlands, agreed to sign up for one more campaign at Old Trafford last summer, but has now stated that season 2010/11 will be his last as a player. Van der Sar admitted he is eager to attend to his wife Annemarie, who suffered a stroke in December 2009.
It is now time to pay attention to my family," said the former AFC Ajax, Juventus and Fulham FC custodian. "I cannot really identify a time when it [the decision] happened. Let's just say 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."
Van der Sar won four Dutch Eredivisie titles and a UEFA Champions League at Ajax and may yet end this campaign with a fourth English Premier League crown, with his haul at Old Trafford also including a 2007/08 UEFA Champions League winners' medal.
The Dutchman's retirement will leave United with three recognised goalkeepers: Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Amos and recent Danish international recruit Anders Lindegaard.
As he returned to Wroclaw this week to become a Friend of UEFA EURO 2012, Polish international Kuszczak told UEFA.com he was eager to replace Van der Sar as United's No1: "I am ready at any moment to jump into goal and stay there for good. I already proved something to myself by playing over 60 matches for United, but
I would like to prove to others that I can be Edwin van der Sar's successor. My goal remains the same: to be No1. It is one of my two big football dreams. The second, of course, is to play for Poland at UEFA EURO 2012."
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