Thanks for the mem­o­ries

A dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for a reign­ing sports star to make is when to bow out. Ti­mothy Molobi bids farewell to those who will no longer grace their field of play. Hav­ing achieved record highs, they have noth­ing left to prove

CityPress - - Sport -

They have been part and par­cel of our lives for many years and gar­nered count­less ac­co­lades in their cho­sen sport. All share one thing: they leave us while they still have their dig­nity in­tact.

FOOT­BALL

Juan Román Riquelme ar­lier this year, the cel­e­brated 37-year-old called time on his 18-year ca­reer. The at­tack­ing mid­fielder made 51 ap­pear­ances for Ar­gentina, scor­ing 17 goals. Best known for his spells with Boca Ju­niors and Vil­lar­real, Riquelme also played for Barcelona and Ar­genti­nos Ju­niors, and had re­cently been linked to clubs on the Ma­jor League Soc­cer list and in Paraguay. “Now I am just a fan. I will go and suf­fer in the sta­dium,” he said when quit­ting.

EPor­tia Modise he 32-year-old striker, who has scored more than 100 goals for Banyana Banyana, also quit. Modise made her na­tional team de­but in 2000 and made 117 ap­pear­ances, scor­ing her 100th goal in Oc­to­ber last year against Al­ge­ria at the CAF African Women’s Cham­pi­onship.

TRio Fer­di­nand n May, the for­mer Eng­land cap­tain an­nounced his re­tire­ment from pro­fes­sional foot­ball, say­ing it was “the right time” to bring to a close his dec­o­rated 18-year ca­reer. He spent last sea­son at Queens Park Rangers, which were rel­e­gated from the Bar­clays Premier League. The 37-year-old for­mer Eng­land de­fender was capped 81 times by the Three Lions and made 455 ap­pear­ances for Manch­ester United, scor­ing eight goals and win­ning six Premier League ti­tles, one Euro­pean Cup, a Fifa Club World Cup and two League cups.

IMichael Clarke larke burst on to the scene in 2004, when he scored 151 on de­but against In­dia. He cap­tained Aus­tralia from 2011 to 2015 and fin­ished with a test bat­ting av­er­age of 49.10 from 115 matches. But he strug­gled with the bat and also be­came the sec­ond Aus­tralian cap­tain this cen­tury to lose two Ashes se­ries in Eng­land af­ter Ricky Ponting.

CRICKET

CBrad Haddin us­tralia wick­et­keeper Haddin an­nounced his re­tire­ment from cricket, fol­low­ing Michael Clarke, Shane Wat­son and Chris Rogers in step­ping down in the wake of the Ashes se­ries de­feat. He could not live up to his past ex­ploits and put his fam­ily first when he missed the rest of the Ashes se­ries. The pug­na­cious 38-year-old, who re­tired from one-day cricket af­ter Aus­tralia’s World Cup tri­umph ear­lier this year, kept wick­ets in 66 tests, scor­ing 3 266 runs at an av­er­age of 32.98 and tak­ing 262 catches with eight stump­ings.

AFloyd May­weather ay­weather may have re­tired with an un­beaten record, but whether he will be writ­ten into the an­nals of his­tory as the great­est boxer is doubt­ful. His fight against Manny Pac­quiao was dis­ap­point­ing. The con­tro­ver­sial 38-year-old boxer pulled the pin af­ter beat­ing fel­low Amer­i­can An­dre Berto to re­tain the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and World Box­ing Coun­cil wel­ter­weight ti­tles in Septem­ber, fin­ish­ing with a per­fect 49-0 record. When asked if he wanted to come back for a 50th match, he de­clared his box­ing ca­reer as “of­fi­cially over”, and said he was phys­i­cally healthy and fi­nan­cially se­cure. He added that he had al­ready bro­ken “all records” in his 19-year ca­reer.

MFlavia Pen­netta he 33-year-old made the sur­prise an­nounce­ment that she would re­tire af­ter her US Open win, where she beat Ser­ena Wil­liams on route to the ti­tle – mark­ing her as a great ex­em­plar of leav­ing when you are at the top of your game. She be­came the old­est fe­male in the Open era to win a first grand slam ti­tle. She has, how­ever, hinted that she might make a brief

re­turn at next year’s Rio Olympic Games.

BOX­ING

TEN­NIS

TKobe Bryant he Los An­ge­les Lak­ers leg­end is re­tir­ing at the end of this sea­son. The tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment shocked many, but the end was in­evitable. Bryant is one of the great­est Lak­ers of all time and one of the great­est to play in the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA). Ac­cord­ing to US sta­tis­tics au­thor­ity Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant is the only player to score 40 or more points in a sin­gle game against the NBA’s 29 other teams. In the Num­ber 8 uni­form, Bryant dropped 40 or more points 67 times, some­thing he did 54 times in the sub­se­quent Num­ber 24 jer­sey. With 17 NBA All Star se­lec­tions, an NBA Most Valu­able Player award, five NBA cham­pi­onships with the LA Lak­ers and two Olympic gold medals, he is one of the great­est play­ers in the his­tory of the game.

RUGBY

Richie McCaw ast month, the All Blacks’ great­est player an­nounced his re­tire­ment. The 34-year-old flanker played a world-record 148 tests, 131 of them wins and 110 of them as cap­tain, and led the All Blacks to two World Cup fi­nal vic­to­ries, in­clud­ing Oc­to­ber’s tri­umph against Aus­tralia. McCaw is also a three-time win­ner of the World Player of the Year award.

LT

PHO­TOS: GALLO IM­AGES / GETTY IM­AGES

AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAME

From left: Michael Clarke, Por­tia Modise, Floyd May­weather, Kobe Bryant and Richie McCaw

Flavia Pen­netta

BAS­KET­BALL

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