LONDON, January 27 – Manchester United's veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar will retire at the end of the current season, his management agency confirmed on their website on Thursday.
The 40-year-old Dutchman joined United in 2005 and has helped the club win three league titles and saved the crucial Nicolas Anelka spot kick in the penalty shootout victory over Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final.
The former Ajax, Juventus and Fulham ‘keeper said on the website of his management agency, www.sport-promotion.nl: "It is now time to pay attention to my family."
Van der Sar has been considering hanging up his boots since his wife Annemarie collapsed with a brain haemorrhage in December 2009.
"I cannot really identify a time when it – the decision – happened," he said.
"Let’s just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment Annemarie had her stroke.
"She has fought back from it. We decided on another year in England and thus to stay at Manchester United.
"But, once engaged in the season, the thought of saying goodbye started to gnaw a bit more emphatically."
United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele believes Van der Sar will go down alongside Peter Schmeichel as one of the club’s greats following his heroics in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.
Steele told Radio Manchester: "Edwin will retire at the end of the season.
"It has been a mutual decision between the manager, the team and Edwin.
"He has been a fantastic servant. I was very lucky. I worked alongside Peter Schmeichel at Villa and I worked with Edwin for two and a half years.
"That penalty save in Moscow has elevated Edwin alongside Peter."