Former Chelsea left back Wayne Bridge has announced his retirement from football today following a persistent knee injury. The decision brings to an end a professional career spanning 16 years beginning in Southampton in 1998.
A highly rated left back from the famous Southampton academy, it was not long before Bridge was living every footballers dream, the chance to play for the national side. His 1st cap came in 2002 against Holland and he went on to represent the England squad in the 2002 World Cup as Ashley Cole's deputy (a recurring theme in his career).
His impressive form led to a Premier League record for the amount of matches played consecutively (since surpassed by Frank Lampard). This boosted his reputation enough for the likes of Chelsea, reinvigorated by Roman Abramovich's riches, to swoop in for him in 2003. Bridge spent the majority of his career at Chelsea and it was in his very first season where his most famous contribution to the side happened; a goal against London rivals Arsenal to knock them out the Champions League quarter finals and interrupt a long standing losing run Chelsea had against Arsenal.
It is telling that Bride made 221 club appearances in all competitions in his first 6 seasons as a professional player, but only 246 of the remaining 10 seasons he played in.
Due to this, his career became more known for silly incidences such the John Terry affair scandal that ended his England career and his relationship to a member of the all girl pop group, The Saturdays.