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Career cut short

Sagnol retires, ‘but my heart’s still here’

After the painful experience of announcing his enforced retirement from football due to injury, Willy Sagnol ended the day with a smile on his face. Prior to an interview, he watched footage of himself in action for Bayern – swerving his way past three opponents at the Allianz Arena, firing in his feared crosses from the right flank, even wildly celebrating a goal or two. Perhaps he also heard the fervent and drawn-out cries of “Willyyyyy” from the loyal fans on the south terrace, a paean of praise we will no longer hear at the stadium to the north of Munich.

“That’s the end. The pain is too great for me to continue playing. It’s something I have to accept,” the 31-year-old declared. Willy’s career has been cut short by persistent Achilles problems. “I’m devastated and it’s hard to take. I’d always dreamed it would end differently, and I’d have liked to keep playing for at least another few years,” he added.