Leighton Baines retires aged 35 as Everton pay tribute to club legend and former England international

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IT’s the end of the road for Leighton Baines.

The Everton club legend and former England international has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35 after 13 seasons with the Merseyside giants.

Baines bowed out at Goodison Park playing 20 minutes in the 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Sunday.

The rampaging left-back appeared 420 times for the Toffees, scoring 39 times during his illustrious career.

And between 2010-20, Baines played 30 times for England – scoring his only international goal against Moldova in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match.

Baines joined Everton from Wigan in 2007 in a £6million deal.

Carlo Ancelotti had hoped to keep the defender, who was reportedly offered a one-year deal.

However, he turned down the contract and it’s believed Everton will try to keep Baines at the club with a coaching role.

The Italian manager revealed: “Leighton Baines has taken this decision to stop playing, every Evertonian must be grateful to him, he is a fantastic example and had a great career.

“We want to keep him at the club, his knowledge is really important.”

🔵 | Leighton Baines has announced his retirement from football.

Thank you for everything, Leighton. 💙 pic.twitter.com/mhYYWiPHHB

And Everton’s fan pages on Twitter also paid tribute to their hero.

“I don’t think we can thank Leighton Baines enough,” Everton Blue Army wrote.

“What a genuinely quality footballer for years, who seems like a great guy, too.

“He’s been a great servant for the club and it’s a travesty that he has not won a trophy with us. An Everton legend. Happy retirement, Leighton!”

While Blue Nose Bob wrote: “Great servant for Everton. 420 games, his attitude was brilliant plus he was a local lad as well.

“Great goals, great memories & rather than put his body through mill & chase the dollar, he has decided to put his feet up & enjoy life. Great choice.”

Baines says goodbye to football with a unique record.

With 39 goals and a further 37 assists, he has more goal involvements than any defender in Premier League history.

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