14 Top Footballers That Retired Too Early (Ranked)


  1. Toni Kroos has announced his decision to retire this summer following the European Championships.
  2. The Real Madrid legend, whose contract with the club expires at the end of the season, has decided it’s time to hang up his boots.
  3. At 34, Kroos still has much to contribute to the game, but he’s chosen to step away while still at the top of his career, joining a list of footballers who have retired earlier than expected.

14 Top Footballers That Retired Too Early

This summer, the football world will bid farewell to one of its greatest icons as Toni Kroos announces his retirement after Euro 2024. The Real Madrid star, whose contract with the club expires at the end of the current season, has chosen to hang up his boots rather than pursue a new chapter elsewhere.

At just 34, Kroos is stepping away while still performing at a high level, as evidenced by his recent strong season with Los Blancos. His decision to retire comes as a surprise and prompts reflection on other football legends who left the game while still capable of contributing significantly. Below, we’ve compiled and ranked 14 stars, considering their impact on the sport, their footballing prowess, and how much more they could have given before retiring.

14 best footballers who retired too early
Player Age retired at
1. George Best 28
2. Zinedine Zidane 34
3. Michel Platini 32
4. Toni Kroos 34
5. Eric Cantona 30
6. Marco van Basten 31
7. Just Fontaine 28
8. Alan Shearer 29 (Internationally)
9. Patrick Kluivert 32
10. Brian Laudrup 31
11. Sergio Aguero 33
12. Pierluigi Casaraghi 28
13. Hidetoshi Nakata 29
14. Enock Mwepu 24

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