Former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has announced his retirement from professional football after a difficult time at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux.
The Frenchman hangs up his boots after a career spanning almost two decades. He played close to 600 games for club and country and in his prime, he was among the best defenders in the world.
Koscielny spent nine years at Arsenal, played 353 games and helped us win three FA Cups and three Community Shields. It was a shame how it ended for him at the Emirates, but he deserves immense praise for everything he did when he was here.
Five times Laurent Koscielny was praised when he was at Arsenal
Wenger saw something in Koscielny that nobody else did back in 2010. The legendary Frenchman brought the defender to Arsenal and turned him into a world-class player.
“I think he did not believe for a long time in his potential. He always behaved always a little bit within himself. Now comes out of him what is in him. He got rid of that past. Is he as good as anyone around in that position? I think so,” Wenger once told Goal about Koscielny.
If there’s one person who knows everything there is to know about defending at the top level, it’s Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand. He once branded Koscielny as the best defender in the Premier League.
He said in 2016, as quoted by Reuters: “Laurent Koscielny, when he’s on form, he’s the best defender in the league for me. He’s one of those you don’t want to play against — he’s quick, he’s aggressive.”
The Brazilian played next to Koscielny and learnt a lot from the Frenchman during his time at Arsenal. Gabriel branded him as one of the best defenders in the world.
He said six years ago, as per Fotmob: “I’m really happy to be compared with such a great player. He has been showing throughout the season that he can be one of the best, or is one of the best, defenders in the world. I want to train more and more every day to be better in every match to make sure I can get to his level.”
Former Arsenal defender Remi Garde followed the career of his compatriot very closely. He saw Koscielny’s progress from a nobody in the French top-flight to one of the best in the Premier League.
“I like his pace, his restraint. With consistency and experience, he has become a leader, a teacher in the defence,” he was quoted saying by Goal.
The big German spent a lot of time with Koscielny, who was not just his teammate and defensive partner, but also his vice-captain as well.
Mertesacker told Arsenal Player in 2016: “To watch him is a joy for me because he’s my teammate. It’s really fun to watch him. He’s grown as a player during his career at Arsenal and with the national team, he’s a figure there now.
“He’s very good in a duel, one against one. He anticipates so well and he’s so quick that there’s no joy for strikers to play against him. He’s so composed now and I think there’s more to come from him next season.