Chelsea Legend, Ashley Cole Finally Retires From Football After 20 Years_1
Inset: Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole has officially called time off on active football, bringing to an end a 20-year playing career.

A statement on the official website of Chelsea Football Club on Sunday said the former Arsenal and Chelsea full-back has announced his retirement, as he casts his eyes toward a future in coaching.

It said the former England international made the announcement earlier on Sunday on Sky Sports’ Super Sunday programme.

“After hard thinking and consideration, it was obviously time to hang my boots up.

“I can look forward to my next chapter which will hopefully be coaching. I’m doing a course at the moment, now I want to be great at being a coach”, he revealed.

“It’s been incredible. As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or to be a professional so to look back now and be able to say I’ve played in World Cups, Champions League finals, been lucky enough to lift Premier League titles is a young kid’s dream.

“I’ve fulfilled my dream and now I look to the future, hopefully to be a great coach.

“I’m most proud of my England caps. I didn’t grasp it as much as I probably should, I look back now and I’m like, ‘I’ve played for my country’ but not just once, I’ve played over 100 times.

“It’s just a little bit disappointing I didn’t get to a final or even a semi-final,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cole made his debut at the age of 18 with boyhood club Arsenal, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups during a seven-year stint in North London before moving across the capital to Chelsea.

Further honors came his way at Stamford Bridge, as he won a further four FA Cup titles and another Premier League trophy.

He also won the Champions League and the Europa League trophies with Chelsea.

After spells with Roma and LA Galaxy, he made his return to English football last season with Derby County, suffering defeat in the Championship playoff final at Wembley.

He has been without a club since.

Cole, now aged 38, is going to hang up his boots after featuring for five clubs in his career in a total of 20 seasons, whilst making more than 700 club appearances and more than 100 international appearances, winning 16 major trophies in the process.