The glittering career of Edwin van der Sar

It’s always a sad moment when one of the great players who you grew up watching decides to hang up his boots. Edwin Van der Sar recently announced that he was going to retire from all forms of the game when the season ends in May. So in honour of the 40 year-old stopper, here is a rundown of the long and decorated career of Edwin Van der Sar.

Ajax (1990 – 1999)

Van der Sar’s first club in his native Holland was Ajax and he made his debut after graduating from their much heralded youth academy in 1990. He was at Ajax during a golden period for the Dutch giants and played in the same team as fellow Dutch greats Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars and the De Boer brothers. During his nine year spell in Amsterdam, Van der Sar not only helped Ajax win numerous domestic honours, but also the UEFA Cup in 1992 and the Champions League in 1995. It was while at Ajax that Van der Sar netted his only senior goal – a penalty against De Graafschap in 1998. Under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, Van der Sar became one of the best goalkeepers in the world and won awards such as the ‘UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year’ and the ‘Dutch Golden Shoe’.

Juventus (1999 – 2001)

Van der Sar joined Juventus during an uncharactically quiet spell for the Turin side – they failed to win a single major trophy during his two year stay and only triumphed in the now defunct Intertoto Cup in 1999. Juventus finished second to Lazio and Roma respectively in 99/00 and 00/01 but during these two seasons Van der Sar only conceded a total of 47 goals, by far and a way the fewest by any team during this time period. However, Van der Sar’s days in Italy were numbered when Juventus splashed out an astonishing £32.5 million for goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in 2001.

Fulham (2001 – 2005)

Van der Sar then shocked many when he made a £7 million move to newly promoted Fulham in 2001. It was thought that Van der Sar, who had just turned 30, had gone to Fulham to see out the remainder of his career, but that was not the case. Fulham secured their Premier League status in their first season and Van der Sar, who made 127 total appearances for the club, played in 37 league games that year. He continued to add to his medal collection when Fulham won the Intertoto Cup in 2002.

Manchester United (2005 – 2011)

Alex Ferguson finally ended his quest for a top quality goalkeeper when he signed Van der Sar from Fulham for a fee believed to be £2 million. While at Old Trafford, Van der Sar’s career experienced something of a renaissance. 14 years after winning it first time around, Van Der Sar won the ‘UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year’ in 2009. Domestic honours were the norm during his time at Old Trafford where he has added a further nine medals to his collection. In the 2008/09 season Van der Sar went 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal, breaking Premier League, English, British and world records along the way. United won the league that year and only conceded 24 goals along the way.

International career (1995 – 2010)

Van der Sar made his international debut in 1995 against Belarus at the age of 25. He represented Holland in six major tournaments and, at the age of 38, was included in the ‘Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament’. He had the ill-luck to be knocked out of three consecutive tournaments on penalties between 1996 and 2000. Van der Sar retired from international football after Euro 2008, but was convinced to play on two more occasions in the build up to World Cup 2010. He kept clean sheets in both games and took his total international cap tally to 130. Van der Sar has played more minutes in European Championships than any other player.

At the time of writing, Edwin Van der Sar has 776 league appearances, 130 international caps and 25 honours to his name to his name.

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