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Ashley Cole announces his retirement from football

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Former Arsenal and Chelsea star Ashley Cole has confirmed his retirement from football at the age of 38.

Cole, who made his professional debut for Arsenal in 1999, has been without a club since leaving Derby County this summer. After months of no news, he confirmed on Sunday afternoon he had hung up his boots.

The left-back made a total of 687 club appearances for Derby, AS Roma, LA Galaxy, Arsenal and Chelsea. He also scored 20 goals and provided 69 assists.

Cole enjoyed great success during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea where he won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, three Community Shields, one EFL Cup, one Europa League and the Champions League.

Aside from that, he’s also one of only nine players to have represented the England national team more than 100 times.

But now Cole has bid goodbye to his playing days and is now focusing on building himself a coaching career.

“After hard thinking and consideration, it’s time to hang my boots up and think towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching,” Cole told Sky Sports.

“I’m doing the course at the moment. Now I want to be great at being a coach.

“As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or to be a professional. So, to be looking back now and to be able to say I played in World Cups and Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles… it’s a young kid’s dream. I’ve fulfilled my dream.”

Back in the day, many regarded Cole as the world’s best left-back while he was at the peak of his abilities.

Even five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has regularly expressed his respect for the Englishman. In fact, the Portuguese superstar rated him as the toughest defender he’s ever faced last year.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Ashley Cole of Chelsea celebrates scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on September 20, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)