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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Campbell officially calls time on career

ESPN staff

Former Arsenal and England defender Sol Campbell has announced his retirement from football after two decades in the game.

Campbell, 37, had been without a club since being released by Newcastle at the end of last season and has now opted to hang up his boots.

The centre-back, who represented England at six successive tournaments between 1996 and 2006, enjoyed a glittering career - most notably with Arsenal, with whom he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups in the first of his two spells with the club.

"It's not easy for me to say it's all over, that's why I've been putting it off for a long time," he told Sky Sports News. "I had a couple of offers to carry on - one from a Premier League team and another from a team who had just been promoted to the Premier League - but I had a foot injury and by the time I'd recovered from that people had already moved on.

"To say that I am not going to play professional football again is difficult because I've had a long time at the top and I've put in a lot of work and it's taken a lot of dedication."

Campbell arrived at the Gunners from Tottenham under a cloud of controversy in 2001, ending a nine-year stay at White Hart Lane to move to their bitter north-London rivals on a free transfer.

Spurs fans never let him forget what they viewed as an unforgivable betrayal, labelling him 'Judas' and subjecting him to abuse on his subsequent returns to the club.

Much to Tottenham supporters' displeasure, Campbell was a major success at Arsenal, playing a key role in the club's Premier League triumphs in 2001-02 and 2004-04, the latter of which saw him form a formidable partnership with Kolo Toure as Arsene Wenger's side went unbeaten for the entire league season.

Two months after scoring for the Gunners in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, Campbell left the club in search of a new challenge and found a new lease of life under Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth, captaining them to FA Cup glory in 2008.

Leaving Fratton Park in 2009 proved the beginning of the end for Campbell, who had an ill-fated spell with League Two side Notts County that autumn before a shock move to Arsenal brought a brief renaissance.

After being released again by the Gunners in 2010, he joined Newcastle, but it quickly became clear that his best days were behind him and he featured just seven times in the league for the Magpies.




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