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Hilario rides off into the night

Charlie Crowhurst

Henrique Hilario, we barely knew ye. I'm serious! We barely knew him at all. Chelsea's second and sometimes third-choice goalkeeper has had a pretty cushy job at Stamford Bridge (someone had to do it, of course), making only a few dozen appearances in eight years, but now he's announced via instagram that he's made the decision to hang up the gloves and continue not to play.

But don't worry, fans! You haven't heard the last of Hilario!

Hi Everyone. After 20 years of professional goalkeeping I have made the very difficult decision to hang up my gloves!! It was not a sudden or easy decision and age played no part, but I simply could not refuse the offer that CFC proposed. I now have the opportunity to not only stay in the game but to pass on my experience and knowledge to a new generation of goalkeepers! I just wanted to say a Big thank you to all the teams that I was so proud to represent and all the staff that works on the backstage, to all my team mates many of whom I have worked with since day one, to all the managers and coaches that have helped me become not only a better player but a better man. For that I will always be grateful. I have been so lucky and privileged to have worked alongside such world class players and managers. Last but defiantly not least, a massive thank you to all the fans who have supported me throughout the years. Love you all. Wishing all of you the best in life.

Source: Instagram.

In other words, Hilario is joining the coaching staff in some capacity. What that capacity might be we don't know for sure -- he hints that he'll be training the youth team, but that might be a red herring -- but he'll be around the club, at least, for a little while longer.

Does this mean anything for the rest of the goalkeepers? Probably not. It might be that Hilario's retirement signifies that Chelsea have their two backup spots filled (one by Mark Schwarzer and one by whichever of Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois fails to claim the starting spot), but it might also be that there was no way he was coming back to play for the club ever and that the announcement of his retirement happened to come today. The second option seems more likely, but the first is there for those who enjoy reading into things.

Anyway. Farewell, sweet prince. We'll see you again soon.

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