(April 14, 2016) - Former FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Nadine Kessler has announced her retirement from football at the age of 28 due to persistent knee problems.
“It is very painful for me to have to admit that I can no longer continue my career for health reasons,” the midfielder told the German Football Association’s website dfb.de. “Nevertheless, I’m optimistic about the future and grateful for all the wonderful moments I’ve been able to experience with my club and country. I would like to thank VfL Wolfsburg for all the years of fantastic sporting success and so many defining, unforgettable memories. Of course, I look back on my time with the national team with similar relish. I’ve always played football with great passion and affection. Now I’m looking forward to new challenges and perspectives.”
Kessler has been among the world’s best players since 2014, when she demonstrated her class as a key member of the Wolfsburg squad and captained the team from Lower Saxony to victory in both the Bundesliga and UEFA Women’s Champions League. These achievements earned her the UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe award for the 2013/14 season and she went on to claim the greatest personal honour in the female game: the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award for 2014. Her honours include four German championship titles as well as an additional UEFA Women’s Champions League winner’s medal.
As if that were not enough, Kessler also played a major role in securing Germany’s place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ during a hugely impressive campaign in which they won all ten of their qualifying matches. Unfortunately, injury prevented her from taking part in the sport’s biggest tournament last summer.
The German won 29 international caps between 2010 and 2014, scoring 10 goals along the way and lifting the UEFA Women’s EURO trophy in 2013. Since battling a persistent knee problem for more than eighteen months, the midfielder has made just one 30-minute Bundesliga appearance and has been repeatedly forced to delay her return to action.
“This is obviously a huge loss for women’s football in Germany,” said national team coach Silvia Neid upon hearing the news. “Nadine Kessler is an exceptionally talented footballer with a fantastic personality – a role model both on and off the pitch. Although I’m extremely sad to hear that she has been forced to call time on her playing career, I’m certain she will find her way after hanging up her boots.”
Wolfsburg coach and 2014 FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football Ralf Kellermann also expressed his sympathies. “Nadine Kessler was a complete leader,” he said. “Without her superb commitment we would never have been so successful over the past few years. She also played her part in turning Wolfsburg into a top international team. I’m extremely sorry to hear that Nadine has had to end such a promising career so soon due to injury problems. I salute her decision and wish her all the best for the future.”