Neville calls it a day

Manchester United have confirmed defender Gary Neville has announced his retirement from football.

The former England right-back, who made over 600 appearances for the Red Devils, has hung up his boots with immediate effect.

Neville has not played for United since the New Year's Day victory over West Bromwich Albion, when he was fortunate not to be dismissed for a professional foul on Graham Dorrans.

It was the 35-year-old's 602nd appearance for the Red Devils - the only club he ever played for.

Neville, who is England's most decorated right back with 85 caps, said: "I have been a Manchester United fan all my life and fulfilled every dream I've ever had.

"Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end, however it comes to us all, and it's knowing when that time is and for me that time is now.

"I have played in the most incredible football teams, playing with some of the best players in the world as well as against them and I have been lucky to be a part of the team's achievements and the club's great success.

"There are so many people I want to thank and of course top of that list is Sir Alex Ferguson.

"He has given me so many opportunities and countless support over the last 20 years, he is truly one of the greatest managers and I have to thank him for that.

"There have also been so many great players that I have had the privilege to train and play along side. The experiences we've shared will be with me for the rest of my life.

"Also all the coaches I have played under from youth level right through to now, who have guided me through my playing days. And finally, the fans, who have always shown me unbelievable support, they know how special they are to me and this club.

"I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward however the most important thing now is for the club to continue with the success that is synonymous with Manchester United and I will be supporting them all the way, as a fan."

It will be interesting to see what direction Neville's life now takes after being touted as a potential coach at United - the defender was mentioned as a possible successor to reserve team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has returned to Norway to take charge at Molde.

And Ferguson waxed lyrical on the former Old Trafford stalwart, saying: "Gary was the best English right-back of his generation.

"He is an example to any young professional; hard-working, loyal and intelligent. As a United fan born and bred, his fantastic career at Old Trafford has cemented his place in the affection of the club's supporters everywhere.

"His impact on the club in general has been huge; his presence in the dressing room and leadership qualities have been an asset to me as a manager.

"All the young players who have sought his advice on many matters, particularly on contract issues owe him a great debt.

"As a young boy he had the will and determination to succeed as a footballer and that character remained with him throughout his career which is the legacy he leaves every young player at Manchester United."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 4 February 2011

Latest Forum Comments

Have your say on Neville calls it a day in the United Online forum

I wouldn't have predicted that it would happen mid-way through a season, but I don't think anyone is surprised that the end has come.

- John

hi there a bit of a shock hearing this did other people know it was going to happen soon? dave

- seabourndt

Definitely! He'd be class on MOTD, a refreshing change and a nice balance to the Scouse/City leanings of Hansen, Lawrenson, Dixon...

- Jonesy

What I love about Gaz is that...he's one of us! He basically embodied a passionate United supporter who was representative of us supporters on the pitch! Loved his passion, he never left behind anything when he was on the pitc..Have such great memories of him... Him headbutting McManaman vs City in the FA Cup was one I won't forget! Had one hell of a cross on him (with either foot!) His combination with Beckham down that right flank for all those years in particular was enjoyable to watch.. Course his celebration at the Liverpool fans everyone's talked about.. Thanks for absolutely everything, he's had one hell of a career!

- Zain

I've also got the pleasure of seeing him score, and I was in the Stretfod End to see it. 1-0 against Leicester in 2004. So many great scenes, especially that great celebration against Liverpool. Only doing what every United fan were doing, but because he was on the pitch, he had to take a bit of hassle for it.

- John

If im feeling this gutteda bout Neville retiring (and probally rightly) i hate to think how im going to feel when Giggs or Scholes hang up their boots (especailly as we havnt replaced either)

- birchy

One of them was at home against Basel, in front of the Strettie, I was there for that. Fantastic atmosphere and 20 mins of "Gary Neville is a Red" followed, you could see how much he was loving it.

- Jonesy

Great player. All the best in the future G. Neville.

- Munsterman

United legend. Glad he has called it a day - I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean it is now the right time to let young Rafael take over at right-back for the next 10 years (hopefully). Many expect him to take over Andy Gray's role at Sky. It would be hilarious considering how bias he is towards us and against the scousers.

- Shaun

Bound to happen at season's end, can only think same as you that he's off to Sky. Sad to see him finally go but the time feels right eh? Scouse baiter, shop steward, sporter of awful moustaches but above all RED to the core. Good luck Gary you are truly one of us. [url:hnbh2jya][/url:hnbh2jya]

- Jonesy