Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

What Age Do Soccer Players Usually Retire? (And 5 Reasons Why)

Professional soccer players have to face the inevitable reality of retiring from the beautiful game at some point in their careers. Retirement can be a bittersweet moment for players, with some experiencing regret and sadness, while others feel ready to move on from the high-intensity professional play and constant training. But what age do footballers typically retire? And what factors contribute to their decision to leave the game? In this article, we will explore the average retirement age for soccer players and the main reasons behind their retirements. We will also delve into why some players retire earlier or later than expected and answer some frequently asked questions about high-profile player retirements. So, let’s dive in!

What Age Do Soccer Players Retire?

The age at which a professional soccer player retires can vary significantly due to various factors. Every player’s body is unique, and their physical capabilities and endurance differ. While some players may go through their entire careers without major injuries, others may be prone to frequent injuries that sideline them for extended periods. These injuries, whether minor strains or major ones like ACL injuries, can take a toll on a player’s physical and mental well-being. Consequently, some players choose to retire earlier than expected. Conversely, players who maintain a clean bill of health throughout their careers may continue playing until they are older. Additionally, the number of minutes played throughout a player’s career can also impact their retirement age. Young talents who burst onto the scene and receive significant playing time at a young age may experience burnout and struggle to maintain the same level of minutes throughout their careers.

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In the modern game, most male professional soccer players retire between the ages of 34 and 36. On the other hand, female professional players tend to retire between the ages of 32 and 34. These differences can be attributed to various factors such as funding and professionalism in the men’s game and differences in sports science and medical treatment available to female players. Overall, average retirement ages in soccer have increased in recent years due to advancements in fitness, nutrition, and players’ increased focus on self-care. However, maintaining fitness in one’s mid-late 30s can still be challenging.

5 Key Reasons Why Soccer Players Retire

While most soccer professionals retire around the age of 35, there are exceptions. Some players, like Cristiano Ronaldo, continue to play professionally well into their late 30s and even 40s. However, many factors influence a player’s decision to retire. Here are five key reasons why soccer players hang up their boots:

#1. Recurring Injuries

Soccer players often work hard to recover from injuries, but when the same injury keeps recurring over a prolonged period, it can be demoralizing. In some cases, medical advice may recommend retirement. For instance, Marco van Basten, a three-time Ballon d’Or-winning Dutch striker, had to retire at the age of 30 due to a worsening ankle injury despite numerous surgeries and a two-year break from football.

#2. Career-ending Injury

Sometimes, a single devastating injury can end a player’s career. Given the contact nature of soccer, injuries can be severe and irreversible. Luc Nilis, a talented Aston Villa forward, suffered a horrific leg injury, shattering his right leg in two places, which ultimately ended his professional playing days.

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#3. Age

No one can play forever. Regardless of how dedicated and disciplined a player is, there comes a time when they can no longer compete at the same level. While some players, like Teddy Sheringham, Roger Milla, and Pepe, have played well past the age of 40, it is rare to see players continue into their 40s. Time catches up with everyone, and retirement becomes inevitable.

#4. Loss of Passion

Each player has a unique perspective on the game. Some players continue to have a burning desire to play into their 30s and beyond, while others lose their love for the professional game. Gareth Bale, Andre Schurrle, and David Bentley are among the players who retired relatively young, having grown tired of the demands and pressures associated with professional soccer.

#5. Mental and Emotional Demands

The constant pressure, physical exertion, and high-stakes nature of professional soccer can take a toll on a player’s mental and emotional well-being. While some players can handle these demands without issue, others find it challenging. Those who struggle mentally and emotionally may choose to retire earlier.


Q: What is the average retirement age for soccer players?

A: The average retirement age for male professional soccer players is between 34 and 36, while female players tend to retire between 32 and 34.

Q: Can soccer players retire earlier than usual?

A: Yes, soccer players can retire earlier than expected due to factors such as recurring injuries, career-ending injuries, loss of passion, mental and emotional demands, and physical limitations.

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Q: Do all soccer players retire at the same age?

A: No, retirement age can vary for soccer players due to their individual circumstances, fitness levels, and injuries. Each player’s journey is unique.


In summary, the average retirement age for soccer players is typically between 34 and 36 for men and between 32 and 34 for women. However, retirement age can vary depending on factors such as recurring injuries, career-ending injuries, age, loss of passion, and mental and emotional demands. Players with clean bills of health and those who manage their minutes well may continue playing until their late 30s. Ultimately, retirement is a personal decision influenced by a combination of physical, mental, and emotional factors. If you’re interested in learning more about soccer players’ careers and their experiences with age, stay tuned to our website for further insights. Don’t miss out on the latest updates in the world of soccer! Visit now.