Former Danish international and Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen announced his retirement on Monday after months of being without a team. For Gravesen, 32, it was the end after a tempetuous end of 2008.
“I spent 12 fantastic seasons abroad and I played in four different countries for which I am very grateful for. I would do it all over again. But I’m 32 years old, 33 in March, so before age and health force my hand, I have opted to take the decision to stop myself.”
This was the dark end to an otherwise brilliant career. In his 12 years, ¨The Oger¨ was one of the best players to come out of Denmark in the past decade. He was a fundamental part of Morten Olsen´s side that participated in the 2002 World Cup as well as Euro2000 and 2004. He earned 66 caps in the process, prior to calling it quits internationally back in 2006.
(Courtesy of China Daily)
He established his reputation as a tough man in the midfield with pinpoint passing. His time at Everton established him as such throughout the Premiership and in Europe, catching the eye of Real Madrid. Then-president Florentino looked at him as the ideal replacement for Claude Makélélé. It was a spot that for many year was vacant with Los Merengues and the comparisons brought him to Valdebebas in 2005. After a fairly good start, his reputation as a hardman began to emerge and overshadow that of his skillful passing. His fiery style of play was a positive for a short period of time, but when he took it to the next level it was a detriment to his play as well as the team. After his spot in the starting lineup appeared to be as stable as the coaching position at Los Blancos, he would eventually see the way out.
In the summer of 2006, he left for Celtic and that was the beginning of the end for Gravesen. He was not very impressive to say the least. So in a last-ditch effort to save his career he was loaned out to the club where he saw the greatest success- Everton. For many it was a marriage made in heaven, but that soon became disastrous as well as he was demoted to the second team in what he considered ¨the most embarrassing moment of his career¨. On August 18, Gravesen and Celtic decided to amicably part ways. It was speculated for months that Gravesen was going to be heading to one of the Danish sides, but that never materialized, so Monday came and his career went.