It had been widely expected and all but confirmed, but yesterday, Edwin van der Sar confirmed that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
Following Peter Schmeichel’s departure after the historic 1999 season, Manchester United went through a number of keepers without finding the same consistent excellence that marked Schmeichel’s highly successful run at Old Trafford.
Then along came Edwin. Sir Alex Ferguson considers Schmeichel to be the bargain of the last century, but there’s no doubt that EVDS is near the top of the list when it comes to the best transfer bargains of the past decade.
Van der Sar arrived from Fulham in a £2m deal in June 2005, and in his five-plus seasons at United, he’s repaid that minor investment tenfold, at the very least. Just as those who replaced Schmeichel had big shoes to fill both figuratively and literally, so will those who attempt to take over the #1 jersey starting next season.
He’s had many great moments in a Manchester United shirt, from all of the trophy wins that he’s played a massive part in, to his record run of clean sheets, to many, many memorable saves.
But arguably the moment that he’ll be most remembered for – that is unless he tops it between now and when he hangs up the gloves in May – is the penalty save on Nicolas Anelka that saw off Chelsea and brought United Champions League glory that unforgettable night in Moscow three Mays ago.
What is your favorite Van der Sar moment? Is it that save in Moscow? And who do you see as his most likely successor?
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