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Former England defender Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from professional football and said that he will now focus on his coaching career. The 38-year-old star had a stellar career that included stints in Premier League sides Chelsea and Arsenal.

Ashley Cole played out his contract with Derby County at the end of the 2018/19 season. The retirement puts an end to a career that spanned two decades. He broke into the scene with Arsenal back in 1999 and suited up for Chelsea, Crystal Palace, AS Roma and LA Galaxy before ending his career at Derby.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Cole reflected on his career. "After hard thinking it was time to hang up my boots and look forward to my next chapter," he said.

At the moment, Cole is focusing on earning the necessary qualifications to start his coaching career. If successful, he will be following the footsteps of former Chelsea teammate, Frank Lampard, who has transitioned into a managerial role.

Cole has gathered a long list of achievements as a professional footballer. He is the most decorated player in FA Cup history, having been part of seven victories. He also has 107 caps for the English National Football team under his belt. During his time with the national team, he represented the country in the FIFA World Cup (3 times) and the European Championships(2 times).

He won the Premier League twice with Arsenal and once with Chelsea. Best known for his time with the Blues, he was also part of the team that won the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League in 2013.

Cole received numerous positive messages from his supporters when news broke out about his retirement:

Former club Chelsea, as well as the UEFA Champions League also shared their thoughts:

"Thanks for the memories, Ashley Cole," read the tweet by @ChampionsLeague.

Chelsea Manager Frank Lampard is reportedly ready to offer Cole a position in his management staff. It remains to be seen if the two of them will reunite in Stamford Bridge.

Ashley Cole
Cole enjoyed sucessful spells with both the Gunners and the Blues. Getty Images