Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

What Happens to Footballers After Retirement?

Jorge Royan /

It’s no secret that footballers at the top level earn obscene amounts of money. But what happens to them once they hang up their boots? Is it a life of luxury and relaxation, or do they continue to contribute to the world of football in other ways? Let’s explore the options available to players after retirement.

When Do Footballers Retire?

When do Footballers Retire?

There are two main factors that determine when footballers retire: injuries and age. Injuries can end a player’s career abruptly or gradually wear them down. Age also plays a role, with goalkeepers tending to retire later than outfield players. Defenders can also last longer than midfielders, while attackers can rely on their experience to compensate for declining physical abilities.

On average, players sign their first professional contract at 17 and have a career length of 18 years. The average retirement age for football players is around 35. However, this can vary depending on the player’s position and the level they play at.

Careers and Jobs Following Retirement

For players in the top leagues, retirement doesn’t always mean leaving the world of football behind entirely. Here are some of the typical choices players make:

Manager / Coach, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Many former players find it difficult to walk away from football altogether. Becoming a manager or coach allows them to stay involved in the game. However, it’s becoming increasingly rare for players to transition directly from the field to being a manager. They often start as assistant managers or youth team coaches, working their way up the coaching ladder.

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Other Club-Based Roles

By Thepfsa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Some players choose to stay connected to the club where they made their name. They can take on ambassadorial roles, representing the club at meetings with governing bodies like UEFA and FIFA. Others become scouts, leveraging their knowledge and experience to identify and recommend new talent to the club.

Football Pundit

University of Salford Press Office, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Becoming a football pundit is another popular route for retired players. Former players like Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, and Thierry Henry have successfully transitioned into television and radio punditry. They provide their expert analysis and opinion on games and contribute to football-related programs.

Football Journalist

From University of Lincoln

Some ex-players choose to become football journalists. They write for newspapers or work in new media, offering their insights and opinions on the game. Their unique perspective as former professionals adds value to their analysis and attracts readership.


Q: Do all footballers retire at the same age?

A: No, the retirement age varies depending on the player’s position, level of play, and individual circumstances. On average, footballers retire around the age of 35.

Q: Are there any other career options for retired footballers?

A: Yes, there are various career options available after retirement, including becoming sports commentators, club executives, or even pursuing non-football-related interests.


Retirement doesn’t mark the end of a footballer’s involvement in the sport. Many players continue to contribute to the game in various capacities, such as coaching, scouting, punditry, or journalism. These options provide opportunities for retired players to stay connected to the sport they love and share their expertise with others.

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