Yesterday, Joe Cole called time on his playing career, aged 37.
The playmaker won multiple caps for his country, lifted the title with Chelsea on three occasions and played in France and the MLS.
Sadly though, his stint at Liverpool was a serious failure, after he moved from Chelsea on a Bosman in 2010 to play for Roy Hodgson.
He made 20 appearances in his first season before being sent out on loan to Lille the next. Cole played a few more times in 2012/13 before we let him join boyhood club West Ham permanently.
Cole was probably slightly past his sell-by date when he arrived, but it’s a shame he couldn’t have done more considering the undeniable talent he possessed.
Upon his retirement, Cole told talkSPORT his ultimate 5-a-side team made up of stars he’s played alongside.
Steven Gerrard is usually an automatic pick into these things, but Cole left him out – using a three-pronged attack of Eden Hazard, Arjen Robben and Luis Suarez instead!
Suarez arrived at Liverpool in January 2011, so the pair would have been on the pitch together very rarely – but Cole claims that the Uruguayan in training was simply jaw-dropping.
Here’s who he went for and why:
Vincent Enyeama (Lille)
“I could’ve gone with Petr Cech, David Seaman, Pepe Reina. But If we’re talking five-a-side, this guy’s the best shot-stopper. You knew if this geezer was in your team in five-a-side, you were winning.”
John Terry (Chelsea)
“It’s got to be the big man, JT. You need someone who just loves defending. William Gallas, Ricardo Carvalho, Rio Ferdinand – they’re all on the level. But if I had to pick one to win a five-a-side game, it’s JT.”
Eden Hazard (Lille)
“He was a special talent right from the off. His stop-to-start was just unbelievable and that’s what you need in five-a-side. I still think he’s a future Ballon D’Or winner. He’ll be the best on the planet at one point.”
Arjen Robben (Chelsea)
“I think he’s one of the most complete players I’ve ever played with: pace, power, technique, skill, strong character. When he signed for Chelsea, he walked out for training, and obviously you’re playing in the same position so you think ‘I wonder if he’s any good’. He’s put the ball down and whipped two free-kicks in the top bin. And I thought ‘I’d better start training harder, this guy’s unbelievable.’
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
“He’ll go down as an all-time great. I think he’ll win the Ballon D’Or as well. I saw it from day one. Some of the things he’d do in training, he’d just run through people and you’d think ‘is that luck?’ And it wasn’t, it was just unbelievable feet.”