Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Former Juventus and Arsenal defender Lichtsteiner retires from football

SoccerNews in English Premier League 12 Aug 2020

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Former Juventus and Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has retired from football.

The 36-year-old had planned to play for Switzerland at the Euro 2020 finals before calling time on his career, but with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the tournament to be postponed to 2021, he has chosen not to continue playing for another year.

Lichtsteiner had spent the 2019-20 season with Augsburg, making 20 appearances in the Bundesliga as Heiko Herrlich’s side finished 15th.

“The plan would have been to retire after the European Championship in 2020,” Lichtsteiner, who was Switzerland captain, said in an interview published by the Swiss Football Association.

“After UEFA’s decision to postpone the European Championship to 2021, it became clear to me that the time had come and I didn’t want to add another year.

“The length of a footballer’s career is limited. I was allowed to play at a high level until I was 36. Now, it’s time to take a new path. It was a cool time that I really enjoyed.”

Lichtsteiner earned 108 senior caps for Switzerland and competed at five major tournaments: Euro 2008, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria, the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, at which he was captain under Vladimir Petkovic.

“Every tournament was an incredible event,” he said. “I always felt a tingling feeling. It was a shame we narrowly missed out on the quarter-finals in the last three tournaments, which were of a high level.

“If you’re able to play more than 100 international matches, that makes you proud. Every single game was an honour. And each one felt like it was the first, in terms of nervousness!”

Lichtsteiner’s most successful spell came in his seven years with Juventus, where he won seven Serie A titles in a row, lifted the Coppa Italia four times and twice reached the Champions League final.

“We were able to build a generation of winners and won 14 trophies in seven years. That was definitely the most formative and successful phase of my career. The downside were those two lost Champions League finals,” he said.

Lichtsteiner, who spent 2018-19 with Arsenal, is now planning for a career in coaching but is also considering a future “in the economic sector”.

“I am open and currently being inspired by various things,” he said.

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