"Refereeing has given me so much," said Howard Webb who has announced his retirement at the age of 43; UEFA.org looks back at some of his landmark appointments.
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"Howard was always authoritative without being too officious which probably stems from his job," said Jack Taylor, who prior to Howard Webb's appointment in 2010 was the last Englishman to referee a FIFA World Cup final, overseeing the 1974 decider.
"He's a tall man and that helps when you are in charge of a potentially volatile match," added Taylor of the former policeman, who has stepped back from the refereeing frontline after announcing his retirement today. Webb's wife Kay marvelled at her husband's ability to control a game. "He can't take charge of his own children," she joked. "I don't know how he manages it on a football pitch. People seem to respect him on the field and he respects them."
The son of a referee, Webb started officiating in local football in 1989, working his way up until, in 2010, he reached a career pinnacle, taking charge of both the UEFA Champions League and World Cup finals.
He was particularly proud to be the fifth Englishman – and the first since Philip Don in 1994 – to referee a UEFA Champions League final, telling UEFA.com it was a success the whole country could share in.
"We've got something like 30,000 referees back in England and I'm sure they'll be wishing us the very best," he said. "It's a real honour and a privilege to come out here and represent those wonderful guys who've been really supportive on my journey. I've been refereeing for over 21 years and you need a lot of support to get to these levels."
The 43-year-old is to stay in the game, giving guidance to referees in the Premier League. As he explained: "Refereeing has given me so much and it's important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge."
UEFA.org looks back on his refereeing landmarks in Europe and beyond.
First UEFA match as a fourth official
FC Dinamo Minsk 0-2 Brøndby IF
28/08/03, UEFA Cup qualifying round second leg
First UEFA match as a referee
Spain 2-0 Portugal
14/04/05, UEFA European Under-19 Champiuonship elite round
First UEFA club competition match as a referee
Ankaraspor AŞ 0-4 MFK Dubnica
02/07/05 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round first leg
First UEFA Champions League game as a referee
Valkeakosken Haka 1-4 Vålerenga Fotball
03/08/05, second qualifying round second leg
First UEFA Champions League group stage game
FC Steaua Bucureşti 0-3 Olympique Lyonnais
26/09/06, Group E
First UEFA European Championship qualifier
Lithuania 0-1 France
24/03/07, Group B
First UEFA European Championship finals game
Austria 1-1 Poland
12/06/08, Group B. in Vienna
First FIFA World Cup qualifier
Portugal 2-3 Denmark
10/09/08, Group 1
Biggest UEFA appointment
FC Bayern München 0-2 FC Internazionale Milano
22/05/10, UEFA Champions League final, in Madrid
First World Cup finals game
Spain 0-1 Switzerland
16/06/10, Group H
Biggest FIFA appointment
Netherlands 0-1 Spain
11 July 2010, FIFA World Cup final, in Johannesburg
Biggest EURO appointment
Germany 1-2 Italy
28/06/12, UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final, in Warsaw
Last UEFA game
Real Madrid CF 1-0 FC Bayern München
23/04/14, UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg
Brazil 1-1 Chile (aet, Brazil win 3-2 on pens)
28/06/14, FIFA World Cup round of 16