Edwin van der Sar: Career finishes on a high despite defeat

Majid Mohamed

EVDS 300x204 Edwin van der Sar: Career finishes on a high despite defeatThe Dutch goalkeeper brought to an end his remarkable career after the Champions League final against Barcelona but the loss to the La Liga champions could only dampen rather than ruin his farewell.

It was fitting that Van der Sar, a Champions League winner with Ajax in 1995 and Manchester United in 2008, finished his career playing in the final of Europe’s premier competition for the fifth time and not in a meaningless game for a lesser side. The previous week, he collected his fourth Premier League trophy in his final domestic game at Old Trafford.

Van der Sar was of course disappointed with the defeat to Barcelona: “I played one game too many I think, it is not nice to lose of course. It was disappointing but that’s life. It would have been better to go out on a win. I’m all right, not emotional. This is the right time for me (to retire) and I’m ok with it.”

Van der Sar plans now to enjoy his free time with his family before returning to England to do his coaching badges.

“The first thing I’m going to do is to try and get away from football for a little bit, because I think life after it can be enjoyable as well,” he said. “Of course it’s going to be hard, of course you’re going to miss it, especially when the league starts and you see your team play, but all good things come to an end.”

“I’ll go on holiday now. I will probably take a year out, go to games with friends in normal situations, maybe play golf.”

The ijskonijn (ice rabbit) as Van der Sar is known in the Netherlands, began his illustrious career at Ajax – winning the league championship on four occasions as well as the Uefa Cup in 1992 – before his first European triumph as he won Champions League in 1995 under the leadership of Louis van Gaal.

A move to Serie A giants Juventus followed as he became the first foreign keeper to play for the Italian club in 1999. His spell at Juventus remains the only blemish on his career.

A lucrative move to Fulham in 2001 saw Van der Sar re-establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league in a four-year spell at Craven Cottage. He was rewarded with a move to Manchester United in 2005 at the age of 34, finally helping the Old Trafford side to sufficiently replace club legend Peter Schmeichel.

Van der Sar holds the record as the oldest player to appear in a Uefa Champions League final and is also the oldest player to win the English Premier League. He recently became the first goalkeeper to keep 50 clean sheets in the Champions League.

Despite a decorated club career, international honours elude Van der Sar. He has amassed a record 130 caps for the Dutch national side yet he possesses no international trophies. He suffered three successive eliminations via penalties in the European Championship of 1996, World Cup 1998 and European Championship in 2000 on home soil. A World Cup semi-final defeat against Brazil in 1998 and a European Championship semi-final loss against Italy in 2000 were the closest the Dutch master got to international success playing for Oranje.

Edwin Van der Sar, one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, will get the chance to play for Ajax one final time in his testimonial on the 3rd of August in the Amsterdam ArenA against a host of former international and club team-mates.

Edwin van der Sar: A career in pictures

Career highs

Ajax (1991-1999)

Eredivisie  1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1997-98

KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) 1992-93, 1997-98, 1998-99

Johan Cruijff Schaal (Shield) 1993, 1994, 1995

Uefa Cup 1992

Uefa Champions League 1994-95

Intercontinental Cup 1995

Manchester United (2005-2011)

Premier League 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11

League Cup 2005-06

Uefa Champions League 2007-08

FA Communtiy Shield 2007, 2008, 2010

Fifa Club World Cup 2008

Picture:Getty Images

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