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Gary Neville retires with immediate effect

Gary Neville has announced his retirement from the game with immediate effect.

The veteran Manchester United full-back has not played since the New Year's Day victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns, when he was fortunate not to be dismissed for a professional foul on Graham Dorrans.

It was his 602nd appearance for the Red Devils. He also won 85 England caps.

"I have been a Manchester United fan all my life and fulfilled every dream I've ever had," he said.

"Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end, however it comes to us all, and it's knowing when that time is and for me that time is now.

"I have played in the most incredible football teams, playing with some of the best players in the world as well as against them and I have been lucky to be a part of the team's achievements and the club's great success.

"There are so many people I want to thank and of course top of that list is Sir Alex Ferguson.

"He has given me so many opportunities and countless support over the last 20 years, he is truly one of the greatest managers and I have to thank him for that.

"There have also been so many great players that I have had the privilege to train and play along side. The experiences we've shared will be with me for the rest of my life.

"Also all the coaches I have played under from youth level right through to now, who have guided me through my playing days. And finally, the fans, who have always shown me unbelievable support, they know how special they are to me and this club.

"I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward however the most important thing now is for the club to continue with the success that is synonymous with Manchester United and I will be supporting them all the way, as a fan."

It will be interesting to see what direction Neville's life now takes.

He has long been touted as a potential coach at United and was mentioned as a possible successor to reserve team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has returned to Norway to take charge at Molde.

However, in the aftermath of Andy Gray's abrupt departure from Sky, the 35-year-old has also been linked with the main pundit's job, even though his obvious allegiance to United would appear to present a problem to supporters of Liverpool and Manchester City in particular.

"Gary was the best English right-back of his generation," said Ferguson.

"He is an example to any young professional; hard-working, loyal and intelligent. As a United fan born and bred, his fantastic career at Old Trafford has cemented his place in the affection of the club's supporters everywhere.

"His impact on the club in general has been huge; his presence in the dressing room and leadership qualities have been an asset to me as a manager.

"All the young players who have sought his advice on many matters, particularly on contract issues owe him a great debt.

"As a young boy he had the will and determination to succeed as a footballer and that character remained with him throughout his career which is the legacy he leaves every young player at Manchester United."


1975: Born February 18 in Bury.

1992: Wins FA Youth Cup in a two-legged final with Crystal Palace. The United team also included David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Keith Gillespie, Robbie Savage and Paul Scholes.

Makes first-team debut for Manchester United in the UEFA Cup against Torpedo Moscow.

1995: Plays in FA Cup final against Everton which United lost 1-0.

Makes England debut against Japan at age of 20 in UMBRO tournament at Wembley on June 3. England win 2-1.

1996: Member of United's double-winning squad. Establishes himself as regular in England team at Euro 96 but misses semi-final defeat to Germany at Wembley.

1997: Scores first United goal in a 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough.

1998: Regular in Hoddle's side for France 98, including in penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina.

1999: Member of United's treble-winning campaign, making 54 appearances.

2000: Wins his fourth championship medal and makes his 250th first-team appearance.

2001: Wins fifth Premiership title and signs new six-year deal with Manchester United worth £11million.

2002: February - Makes 50th England appearance in a 1-1 draw against Holland.

April - Breaks metatarsal bone in foot during first half of United's Champions League semi-final first leg clash with Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford. The injury eventually rules him out of the World Cup.

Rejects a testimonial to mark his 10 years at Old Trafford, saying the game would be more fitting at the end of his career.

Collects his sixth Premiership winner's medal.

2004: Wins the FA Cup for the third time as United beat Millwall 3-0 in Cardiff.

Ever-present member of the England Euro 2004 squad beaten in the quarter-finals by hosts Portugal.

Signs a new contract to extend his stay at Old Trafford by another four years.

2005: December - Named new Red Devils skipper by Sir Alex Ferguson following the departure of Roy Keane.

2006: February - Fined £5,000 and warned about his future conduct by the FA following his wild celebrations at Rio Ferdinand's injury-time winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford the previous month. Accuses FA of wanting robots for footballers.

February - Lifts his first trophy as skipper after a 4-0 Carling Cup triumph over Wigan.

2007: United win Premier League title with Neville making 24 appearances in the league.

Injury problems mean Neville does not make a league appearance in the 2007-08 season, in which United retained their Premier League title.

2008: May - Not named in the squad for the Champions League final, which United won with a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow.

2009: February - Signs one-year contract extension to keep him at United until 2010.

2009: May 24 - Handed a surprise recall to the England squad by Fabio Capello for World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra but does not feature.

2010: January 20 - Makes one-fingered gesture to former Manchester United player Carlos Tevez while warming up as a substitute against Manchester City.

February 28 - Comes on as a second-half substitute as Manchester United beat Aston Villa in the Carling Cup Final.

April 30 - Signs a new one-year contract with Manchester United.

2011: February 2 - Announces his retirement from football having made 602 appearances for United.