Rickie Lambert has retired at the age of 35.
The former Southampton, Liverpool and England forward has been without a club since July when he left Cardiff by mutual consent and although reports had linked him with a short-term move to Crystal Palace, Lambert has called time on his fairytale career.
He is known as being “the top league goal scorer in all of English football this millennium” with his 218 goals in 607 total career league appearances.
From working in a beetroot factory and playing for Stockport County, Macclesfield, Blackpool, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers in the lower leagues, Lambert made his name at Southampton as he scored 117 goals in 235 appearances for Saints in five seasons from 2009 as he fueled their rise from the third tier back to the Premier League.
That led to an England call up and Lambert scored three goals in 11 appearances for the Three Lions and appeared at the 2014 World Cup.
In a statement, Lambert had the following to say about his retirement from the game.
“I feel lucky to have been involved in this sport for as long as I have. I have had some ups and downs in my career, but to have represented clubs like Southampton and Liverpool and playing for my country in a World Cup were beyond my wildest dreams. Playing and scoring for England is probably my proudest professional moment and I will look back at every aspect of how I got there with fond memories.
“I would like to thank the fans of all the clubs I played for but especially Southampton where I enjoyed the my best years as a footballer and had a special relationship with everyone connected with the club. Thank you to all the players I have played with and all the managers I have played for throughout my career, it was an honor to work with you all. Thank you to my family and friends who have always been there for me and especially my gorgeous wife Amy.
“I will be taking a break for a while to spend some quality time with my family just being a husband and father. In the future I hope to give back as best I can to the game that has given me so much.”
After sealing his dream move to boyhood club Liverpool in the summer of 2014, Lambert struggled to make his mark at Anfield as he scored three goals in 36 appearances before a move to West Brom and then Cardiff where he suffered multiple injuries.
Lambert will always hold a special place in the heart of Southampton’s fans as he was instrumental in back-to-back promotions and then stabilizing them in the Premier League. It would be no surprise whatsoever to see him handed an ambassadorial role at Saints in the coming weeks.