Michael Carrick officially called time on his playing career at the end of the 2017/18 season, bringing down the curtain on 12 glorious years at Manchester United.
Carrick will now make the transition into coaching and immediately joins the backroom staff at Old Trafford as he takes the first steps towards a potential future career in management.
Looking back over his time in a United shirt, here are Michael Carrick’s nine finest moments…
1. Demolition of Roma
Carrick joined United off the back of a fine 2005/06 season for Tottenham and, despite being a completely different kind of player, was given the significant task of replacing former captain Roy Keane at Old Trafford following his acrimonious exit several months earlier.
Carrick, who was even handed Keane’s number 16 shirt, enjoyed a solid debut campaign, winning the Premier League title to break growing Chelsea dominance.
His crowning moment, however, came in Europe when United met Roma in the Champions League quarter finals. The Italians had won the first leg 2-1 in Rome. But, after Carrick opened the scoring in magnificent style back at Old Trafford, everything just clicked.
Eventually winning 7-1 on the night, United were 4-0 up by half-time and when Carrick added a sixth at the hour mark, the tie was well and truly over.
2. First Premier League Title
Carrick’s maiden season at United ended with the first of five Premier League titles he would win with the club, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s team took the division by storm after three years in the relative wilderness.
The new midfielder was a regular throughout, forming a perfect partnership with Paul Scholes. He started 29 Premier League games and featured in 52 in all competitions.
3. European Glory in Moscow
After collecting a second Premier League winners’ medal in as many seasons, Carrick played all 120 minutes of the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow, stepping up to take United’s second penalty in the dramatic shootout.
On that rain soaked night in Russia, he followed teammate Carlos Tevez and tucked his spot-kick away from Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. United went on to win the shootout 6-5 after John Terry’s infamous miss, with Carrick adding European glory to his domestic success.
4. Decisive in Title Race
The following season, Carrick had a decisive late impact in the Premier League title race as United battled to stay ahead of fierce rivals Liverpool and land a third consecutive league crown for only the fifth time in the history of English football.
Carrick put United on the brink in the 36th game of the season, assisting an equaliser for Carlos Tevez and then scoring a late winner himself to seal a 2-1 win from behind away against Wigan. It meant United needed just one more point from their final two games and the team duly obliged by drawing 0-0 with Arsenal at Old Trafford a few days later.
5. Player of the Year
Carrick added a further Premier League title to his growing medal collection in 2010/11 as United overtook Liverpool as England’s most successful league club. He had also won the League Cup in 2010 and played in a third Champions League final in 2011.
But 2012/13 would be his very best season in a United shirt.
Having lost the league to Manchester City in 2011/12, United were on fire and it was Carrick who was pulling all the strings from midfield. His impact was so great that it was he and not Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie who was voted the club’s Players’ Player of the Year, while he was also nominated for PFA Players’ Player of the Year and was selected for PFA Team of the Year for the only time in his distinguished career.
6. ‘Best English Player’
Although United were weakened by the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 and Carrick’s own influence began to wane as a result of injuries, the former boss declared in December 2014 that he was still the best English player there was.
“I think Michael’s the best central midfielder in English football. I think he’s the best English player in the game,” a proud Ferguson told BT Sport.
Two years later, new United boss Jose Mourinho spoke of his regret that he hadn’t had the chance to work with Carrick sooner.
“He is such a fantastic player and it is a pity, I always loved him, but instead of being his manager when he was 25 I am his manager when he is 35,” Mourinho said.
Having served 11 years at Old Trafford, Carrick was rewarded with a testimonial in the summer of 2017 in a game that pitted United’s 2008 Champions League winners, of which he had become the last member still at the club, and a team of All-Stars picked by himself.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp, Carrick’s mentor during his younger days at West Ham, were drafted in to manage the two sides.
Fittingly, Carrick scored the last goal of the 2-2 draw, finding the net in spectacular fashion from 25 yards out.
8. The Captaincy
Carrick was formally named United’s vice-captain by manager Louis van Gaal in 2014 and would often wear the armband in Wayne Rooney’s absence for the next three seasons.
When Rooney left for Everton in the summer of 2017, Carrick was promoted to club captain by Jose Mourinho. Given his lack of playing time, largely due to the discovery and treatment of a heart condition, it was ultimately more of a ceremonial position as Antonio Valencia often led the team on the pitch, but his presence and experience was still felt and valued.
9. 464 and Out
Carrick his 464th and final game for United on 13th May 2018 in a home win against Watford.
The 36-year-old was given a standing ovation when he left the field in 85th minute as the whole of Old Trafford expressed gratitude for his loyal service over the years.
Only 15 players in United’s history have played more games for the club than Carrick.