Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gallery: Sports stars who came out of retirement

Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Michael Phelps this week announced his return to swimming and he is yet another sports star to reverse their retirement decision.

The most decorated Olympian in history follows in the footsteps of other illustrious sporting figures who have returned to their particular sport with varying degrees of success.

Some of the biggest names including Muhammad Ali, Michael Schumacher, Zinedine Zidane and Michael Jordan decided their initial decision was premature and returned to a full media glare.

Here is how some of the biggest names fared out after returning to competitive sport.

Michael Jordan - Arguably the greatest ever basketball player (and certainly the most well marketed) retired from the game in 1993, stating a loss of desire to play the game - something sparked by the death of his father. He busied himself playing baseball (not very well) before announcing his return to the Chicago Bulls with a statement that simply read
Michael Jordan - Arguably the greatest ever basketball player (and certainly the most well marketed) retired from the game in 1993, stating a loss of desire to play the game - something sparked by the death of his father. He busied himself playing baseball (not very well) before announcing his return to the Chicago Bulls with a statement that simply read "I'm back". Jordan inspired the Bulls to win the NBA finals and was named Finals MVP for a record fourth time.
The man simply known as "The Greatest" retired from the ring after regaining his world title from Leon Spinks on September 15, 1978. After two years on the sidelines, he re-laced his gloves at the age of 39 but was badly beaten by world champion Larry Holmes who stopped Ali in the 11th round in October 1981.
Michael Schumacher - The stricken seven-time Formula One returned to Mercedes in 2010 after retiring in 2006. His first year back behind the wheel wasn't a great success, he finished the season 9th and retired for the second time in 2012.
Floyd Mayweather Jr - Mayweather's retirement was short lived. After leaving boxing in May 2007 after defeating Oscar de la Hoya he returned to fight Ricky Hatton later that year in a fight billed as 'undefeated', based on the two boxers' exceptional records. American Mayweather would dominate the fight, knocking the Mancunian out in the 10th round and sealing his status as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time. His record reads 45 fights, 45 wins, 26 KO's.
Paul Scholes - The Man United midfielder made over 700 appearances for United, the third-highest number of appearances by any player for the club before announcing his retirement from playing in May 2011. Scholes received a testimonial match and began his coaching career at the club from the 2011–12 season, but reversed this decision in January 2012. He went on to play one more season before retiring again in May 2013 with another Premier Leaguie winners medal in his pocket.
Zinedine Zidane - The French superstar retired from international football after France were knocked out by Greece in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals, but in August 2005 he announced his comeback and was installed as captain. Reached 100 caps for France shortly before the 2006 World Cup where he inspired Raymond Domenech's side to go all the way to the final. In the final, against Italy, Zidane scored a penalty but was later sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi. It was his final act as a professional footballer.
Swedish tennis great Borg won 11 grand slam titles before retiring at the age of 26. The player who had won his first grand slam title as an 18-year-old at the French Open looked to be lost to the sport. It may have been better for all concerned if he was, for in 1991 he attempted a comeback and came nowhere near to reliving his former glories, failing to win even one match.
Martina Hingis - The Swiss Miss was just 22 when she announced her retirement in 2003. Despite being so young, she had already lifted five Grand Slam titles. In 2005 she returned to competitive action, lost in the first round of a minor tournament and decided against a comeback. She had a change of heart once again a few months later, enjoyed some decent results but never scaled the heights of her former glories and retired for good in 2007.
Lster Piggott - The greatest jockey of his generation who won nine Epsom Derbys among many other major races and was champion jockey 11 times. Retired in 1985 to take up training but was jailed in 1987 for three years for tax evasion only to return to the saddle on his release aged 55 and showed the 'long fellow's' talents remained as he guided Royal Academy to the Breeders Cup Mile for his old retainer Dr Vincent O'Brien and added another classic through Rodrigo de Triano in the 1992 English 2000 Guineas before retiring for a final time in 1994.
Olympic champion in 1968 at the age of 19 in Mexico City, Foreman went on to become world champion five years later when he defeated Joe Frazier. The future preacher went on to lose his belt to arch rival Mohammed Ali one year later in the legendary 'Rumble in the Jungle' in what was then Zaire - now the Democratic Republic of Congo - but after some 12 years out of the fight game, he stunned the world of boxing when he floored Michael Moorer in 1994 at the age of 45. One of the hardest punchers in the game, he remains the oldest ever boxing world champion.
Jens Lehmann - With just about all of Arsenal's goalkeepers crocked, Arsene Wenger turned to his former 'Invincible' Lehmann, becoming the oldest Gunner in the Premier League. Retired permanently in 2011.

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