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William Gallas announces retirement

Odd Anderson / AFP

Former Chelsea defender William Gallas has finally called it a career, hanging up his boots at 37. Gallas, who was with the club between 2001 and 2006, is probably best known for the contentious end to his time at Stamford Bridge before being moved in the swap deal for Ashley Cole, but that unsavory episode really shouldn't colour our perceptions of a magnificent player too much.

Because William Gallas was absolutely brilliant.

A highly capable centre back and good enough at left back to be considered elite there as well (he made the PFA team of the year playing out of position), Gallas was a key figure in the back to back title wins of 2004-05 and 2005-06. He seemed to have an ability to know where the ball was going before everyone else did, which served him as well in front of the opposition goal as it did in front of his own. Few were as capable at pulling order out of chaos, and the 37-year-old should be remembered as one of the best defenders the club has ever had rather than for his time at smaller London clubs.

Good luck in the retirement, William. It was a pleasure. Mostly.

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