Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says he expects Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to retire at the end of the season.
Ferguson said United were already planning for life without van der Sar on the pitch, although the 40-year-old Dutch international could possibly stay on as a coach at Old Trafford.
“We are planning for this being his last season,” Ferguson said. Asked whether the goalkeeper could stay on to help coach his successor, Ferguson said the issue had not been discussed.
“But Edwin is a player who would be of interest in terms of his knowledge and standing in the game,” he told reporters.
Speculation over van der Sar’s future has rumbled on for months, with United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele stating in October that the Dutchman was planning to retire.
However van der Sar, who joined United in 2005 after stints with Fulham, Juventus and Ajax, later denied making any decision on his future.
“That’s complete nonsense. I do not know where this story comes from but it is nonsense,” he said at the time.
“I don’t yet know whether I will stop or continue after this season. Only in the course of this season will I think about it. Then I will decide and not before. For now I keep my focus on United.”