Man United’s Edwin van der Sar to hang up his boots next year

Veteran goalkeeper is set to end a distinguished 23-year career at the end of this season

edwin van der sar
(Photo: Paul Blank)

edwin van der sar

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has finally ended speculation surrounding Edwin van der Sar’s future by confirming that the Dutch international will retire at the end of this season.

The 40-year-old goalkeeper is the most-capped player in Netherlands history and his haul of silverware includes five Dutch league titles, three Premier League winners’ medals and two Champions League triumphs.

Sir Alex said on Wednesday: “We are planning for this being his last season.

“It’s sad but the difficulty for a goalkeeper when he gets to 40 is something which happened with Peter Shilton,” he said earlier this year.

“All of a sudden, because of age, Shilton’s form just collapsed and I don’t think Edwin would want that. He is such a proud man and it’s going to be a big loss.”

Van der Sar began his career at Ajax when he was spotted by the then manager Louis van Gaal. Despite is young age he was soon made the number one and played an important role in the club’s Champions League success in 1995.

He then moved to Italian club Juventus in 1999 where he made 66 Serie A appearances for the Turin side and became the first ever non-Italian goalkeeper at the club. He eventually lost the number one spot to Gianluigi Buffon and transferred to Fulham where he rebuilt his reputation as one of Europe’s finest shot-stoppers.

Since joining Manchester United in 2005, he has won four league titles, enjoyed a league cup triumph and won a Champions League winners’ medal.

Sir Alex admits being interested in utilising van der Sar’s expertise in the coaching department at Old Trafford. “We have not discussed it,” he said. “But Edwin is a player who would be of interest in terms of his knowledge and standing in the game.”

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