Rochdale's Joe Thompson Announces Retirement

Joe Thompson, who scored the goal that kept Rochdale in League One on the last day of last season after twice beating cancer, has decided to hang up his boots aged 29.

Twice Joe Thompson was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of his playing career and twice he beat the disease and came back to resume his career and with relative success.

In 2013 Thompson was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma whilst playing for Tranmere but came back less than a year later and signed for Bury, after his contract with Tranmere expired.

After joining Rochdale in 2016 his cancer returned just months after in March 2017 and he was out for nearly a year once again.

However he returned to playing for the League One club and played against Spurs at Wembley in the FA Cup and even scored the winning goal on the last day of last season against Charlton to keep Rochdale in League One.

In a statement on the Rochdale website on Tuesday he announced his retirement, saying:

"My decision to retire has been one of the hardest I've ever had to make. After several discussions with my specialists and consultants it is with a heavy heart that I am retiring from the game I love.

"I have battled through some of life's hardest challenges and have managed to overcome them. However, I've pushed my body to the absolute limit. My mind has grown stronger but with the intense treatment my body has had to endure over the last six years it is no longer able to perform to the demands of the professional game.

"I owe it to my body and also to my family who have all seen me go through hell on more than one occasion. I would like to thank them dearly; particularly my wife Chantelle, my mum Michelle, brother Reuben and my amazing daughter Lula. You have all been my light in my darkest days.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, my manager Keith Hill and all the staff at Rochdale. You are truly an unbelievable group of people. Thank you for all the support and faith you have put in me over the years. It has been an honour and a privilege to work alongside you all and create memories I shall cherish forever."

Thompson also talked about what he'll be doing in the future, what the goal against Charlton meant to him and thanked the fans and those at the club:

"I am hugely excited to enter the world of motivational speaking, mentoring and the media. I believe I have a duty to mentor younger professionals in the game.

"I also feel my story has the power to help others in all walks of life to overcome their own adversities and empower them to fulfill their potential. I owe it to my body and also to my family, who have all seen me go through hell on more than one occasion,

"I would like to thank them dearly; particularly my wife Chantelle, my mum Michelle, brother Reuben and my amazing daughter Lula. You have all been my light in my darkest days.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, my manager Keith Hill and all the staff at Rochdale. You are truly an unbelievable group of people.

"Last, but not least, I would like to thank the footballing world. Especially the Rochdale fans who have been with me since I made my debut 13 years ago.

"That goal at the end of last season meant the world to me, to be able to share that with you all made me immensely proud. I've received thousands of messages from football fans around the world and it's been truly humbling. I cannot thank you enough.

"Without my family and football, I honestly can say I don't know whether I'd be here."

We wish Joe all the luck in the world with the next chapter of his life.

Ryan Sidle

Ryan is a writer for SPORTbible. He covers all sport from football, formula one, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, mma and wrestling. He obviously hates YOUR football team and has no interest in synchronised swimming.

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