LONDON (AP) — Former England defender Sol Campbell announced his retirement from football on Wednesday, ending a stellar 19-year career that was marked by his acrimonious switch from Tottenham to fierce north London rival Arsenal.
The 37-year-old Campbell — a powerful, ball-playing center-back who played 73 times for his country — called time on his career having failed to find a club following his release from Newcastle at the end of last season.
"It's hard to let go when you have been a top sportsman for a long, long time," Campbell said. "To say that I am not going to play professional football again is difficult because I've had a long time at the top."
Campbell made one of the most controversial moves in the history of English football when he left Tottenham — where he was captain — after 10 years to join Arsenal in 2001, provoking a deluge of criticism from angry Spurs fans.
Campbell won two league titles and two FA Cups in that first stint with Arsenal, when he was part of the "Invincibles" team that went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten in the league.
He rejoined Arsenal on loan for half a season in 2010, and also played for Portsmouth and Notts County.
Campbell, who played at three World Cups and three European Championships, went through his career without ever moving for a transfer fee.