French midfielder Yohan Cabaye has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35. He made the statement in a Twitter post which was titled “Final Whistle”.
In the statement, Cabaye said: “It is with great emotion that after more than 17 years of passion, love for football, great emotion and memories that will always remain ingrained in my mind, I announce the end of my professional football career.
“Even if this decision may seem obvious and unavoidable having passed 35 in the world of football, it is still difficult to take and to accept because my love for football is immense.”
Yohan Cabaye Announces Retirement Following Extensive Career
The Career of Experienced French Midfielder
Lille: 2004 to 2011
Ahead of the 2004/05 season, Cabaye was handed his first professional contract with Ligue 1 side Lille. He would make his professional debut under the management of Claude Puel featuring six times in his first season at just 17 years old.
From 2005/06 onwards, Cabaye would become a first-team regular in the Lille side and played the majority of his sides league games, regularly helping them to reach the European positions. In 2009/10 Cabaye’s form was very impressive as he managed 13 goals from midfield and provided eight assists for his teammates.
Having been on the radar of the French national team for a few seasons, Cabaye was handed his French debut in August 2010. It came as new manager Laurent Blanc looked to get over the disaster of the 2010 World Cup and push through a fresh impetus of youth into the national team.
Cabaye’s most successful season for Lille would come in 2010/11 as he helped spearhead his side to the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double. Cabaye pulled the strings in midfield in a star studied Lille team which featured the likes of Eden Hazard, Gervinho, Mathieu Debuchy, and Moussa Sow.
Newcastle United: 2011 to 2014
Following an immensely successful season for Lille, Cabaye joined Newcastle United for just £4.5 million. As chief scout Graham Carr aimed to attract some of Europe’s best young talents to St James Park. Going into the 2011-12 season many pundits had predicted a difficult campaign for the Magpies following the losses of first-team regulars such as Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll and Joey Barton.
Over the course of the season, Newcastle were the surprise package of the Premier League and Cabaye proved to be one of the signings of the season, he became an instant fit with the Newcastle fans as he possessed incredible ability from set-piece situations which were reminiscent of the likes of Laurent Robert and David Ginola.
He formed a formidable midfield partnership with Ivorian defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote. The balance the pair offered in the midfield allowed The Magpies to control large periods of games and provide a great sense of creativity for the likes of Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
The 2011-12 season was a great underdog story for the Magpies who finished in fifth position, their highest league finish since Bobby Robson was the manager back in 2004. In the following season, Newcastle struggled for squad depth and fell to 16th position in the league table.
Despite their struggles in the league, Cabaye’s individual performances remained strong and he played a key role in ensuring Newcastle United’s European campaign helping them to reach the quarter-final stage of the Europa League with Newcastle being narrowly beaten by Portuguese giants Benfica.
At the end of the season, there was large speculation surrounding Cabaye’s future with a host of European clubs being interested in the Frenchman. Newcastle were able to retain the services of Yohan Cabaye despite a transfer saga all summer involving Arsenal. Despite, being unsettled on Tyneside there was little sign of his performances slowing down and Cabaye enjoyed an excellent first of the season in 2013/14 scoring seven goals from midfield.
In the January transfer window, following interest from French giants Paris Saint-Germain, Cabaye announced that he had handed in a transfer request and reportedly refused to train with Newcastle in order to push a move away from the club. In January 2014 he was signed for PSG for a fee of £20 million. Despite leaving on bad terms many Newcastle fans regard him as their best player in the Mike Ashley era.
Paris Saint Germain: 2014 to 2015
Cabaye was brought into PSG midway through the 2013-14 season and came straight into the first team to help them lift his second career Ligue 1 title. Despite being involved in a title-winning team, Cabaye struggled to recapture the same form he had at both Lille and Newcastle and was largely unable to dislodge the midfield trio of Thiago Motta, Blaise Matudi and Marco Verratti.
In 2014/15 he was a member of the PSG team that dominated French football achieving a treble by winning Ligue 1, The Coupe De France and Coupe de la Ligue. However, Cabaye was seen as surplus to requirements to PSG and was made available in the summer of 2015. He reunited with former manager Alan Pardew by joining Crystal Palace for a club-record £10 million.
Crystal Palace: 2015 to 2018
Cabaye enjoyed a successful start to life at Selhurst Park on his return to the Premier League scoring the final goal on his debut as Crystal Palace recorded a 3-1 victory over Norwich on the opening day of the season. He established himself as The Eagles’ first-choice penalty taker and was the clubs equal top scorer with five goals in 2015-16 as Crystal Palace finished 15th in the Premier League. During that season Cabaye also helped Crystal Palace reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1990, the French midfielder started the cup final as The Eagles were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Manchester United.
Cabaye remained a first-team regular at Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew and Roy Hodgson playing a total of 96 games for Crystal Palace and scoring 9 goals. He was released in 2018 on a free transfer following the end of his contract.
Since leaving the Premier League, Cabaye has struggled with injury problems and has not been able to play on a consistent basis. He signed for Dubai based Al Nasr on a free transfer in 2018 but was released in January after just thirteen appearances for the club. He went on to end his career at Saint Etienne where he was limited to just fifteen appearances as the French side narrowly avoided relegation to Ligue 2.
Cabaye retires having lifted three Ligue 1 titles, two Coupe de France, one Coupe de Liga. He was also capped on 48 occasions for the French national team and was a member of the team which narrowly missed out on the European Championships in 2016 by losing to Portugal in extra time.