By Tim Harrison
One of Chelsea’s most consistent and influential footballers has hung up her boots.
Eni Aluko, who enjoyed six seasons with Chelsea Women – steering them into the modern professional era, was also an England legend, gaining 102 caps and playing at three World Cups.
She announced her retirement this week at the age of 32, two months after leaving Juventus, the club she joined after her illustrious Chelsea career in which, aptly, she scored 32 goals.
Born in Nigeria, Aluko moved to the UK when she was one, eventually playing alongside future Chelsea captain Kaz Carney at Birmingham City.
She joined what was then Chelsea Ladies in 2007, but then had several playing stints in the USA before becoming a full-time Chelsea striker in 2012.
She was named Chelsea player of the year in 2015, winning Chelsea Women’s first trophy – the FA Cup, at Wembley, in front of a record 30,710. She provided the assist for colleague Ji So-Yun’s winner.
Her final Chelsea appearance was in 2018, scoring in her last game as part of a side which had gone unbeaten right through the title-winning season.
Aluko, who scored 33 times for England, now plans to focus on her media work (she writes a regular sport column for The Guardian, and regularly appears as a TV pundit).
She has a law degree, and could set up a legal practice. But she has also kept up her links with Chelsea, and – having recently completed a Uefa course – might also be interested in taking on a role alongside Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes as the club’s director of football.
“I feel like I’m ending on a high, with a sense there’s not much more I can do in the game,” she said of her decision to retire. “I feel ready for the next period of my life, and I feel very excited.”
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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