Arsenal FC: Former Invincible Sol Campbell Retires from Football

Matthew Snyder@schnides14Analyst IIIMay 2, 2012

Out of football since finishing last season on the books of Newcastle United, Sol Campbell announced on Wednesday that he has decided to retire from the game, according to Sky Sports News (h/t ESPN Soccernet).

Campbell, who had been recovering from a foot injury during the first part of the current campaign, said that he had still been approached by two Premier League teams. However, their interest cooled when he failed to make a full recovery.

The 37-year-old central defender, who began his professional career with Tottenham Hotspur in 1992, enjoyed his most prosperous seasons with Arsenal after making a controversial free transfer ahead of the 2001-02 season.

It was at Highbury that Campbell began winning trophies like they were going out of style.

In five seasons with the club (2001-06), he helped Arsenal earn two Premier League titles (2001-02, and the 2003-04 Invincibles campaign), and three FA Cups (2001, 2002 and 2005).

He was named to the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Team of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

Campbell formed an excellent partnership in central defense alongside Kolo Toure during the Invincibles season, when the Gunners won 26 of their 38 league games and tied the rest. Arsenal allowed just 26 goals during the entire season.

He won a fourth FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, captaining the side to triumph over Cardiff City.

Campbell returned to Arsenal in 2010 as an emergency signing to provide cover for a Gunners defense wracked by injury. He would make 11 appearances in all competitions from February to May, scoring one goal and even playing in the Champions League. Wenger's trust in him was absolute.

The Plaistow native represented England on 73 occasions at the senior level from 1996-2007, appearing in every major tournament for the Three Lions during that period and often as a starter.

"It's not easy for me to say it's all over, that's why I've been putting it off for a long time," Campbell told Sky Sports News (via BBC Sport) on Wednesday.

"To say that I am not going to play professional football again is difficult because I've had a long time at the top and I've put in a lot of work and it's taken a lot of dedication."

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