FC Bayern München and France defender Willy Sagnol has confirmed his retirement from the game due to an achilles tendon injury, ending a career that brought him 58 international caps and UEFA Champions League glory in 2000/01.
'No surgery possible'
The 31-year-old initially suffered his injury during training last July and complications linked to the surgery he underwent at the time have prevented a comeback. Speaking on French television, Sagnol explained that it was time to concede defeat in his comeback battle. "It's an injury which won't heal," he said. "There is no surgery possible and no option other than ending my career. That's the realistic decision. Doctors have tried everything in France and abroad and I have to thank them all, but there was no other possible outcome. My first goal now is to spend time with my family. I have three children and there will still be good moments to come, even if they're not on a pitch."
A right-back by trade, Sagnol began his professional career at his hometown club, AS Saint-Etienne, making his Ligue 1 debut during the 1995/96 campaign. After two years at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, he joined AS Monaco and celebrated championship honours in 1999/00 at the end of his last season in the principality. From there, the often outspoken player signed for Bayern, where he collected five Bundesliga titles and four German Cups. The highlight of his stint in Germany, however, was the UEFA Champions League victory in 2000/01, when Bayern overcame Valencia CF on penalties in Milan after the match had ended 1-1.
Sagnol never matched those heights at international level, having made his France debut against Turkey on 15 November 2000, a little over four months after Les Bleus won UEFA EURO 2000™. He nonetheless lifted the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003 and reached the FIFA World Cup final in 2006, before making his 58th and final appearance during the UEFA EURO 2008™ group-stage loss to the Netherlands.
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