Everton's Izzy Christiansen will play his last match against his former club Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images/Emma Simpson
Izzy Christiansen retires from football at the age of 31 to focus on pundit work, his coaching badges and even compete in endurance events.
The English midfielder who earned 31 match for their country and win the Champions League with French side Lyon after spells at Manchester City and Birmingham City will play their last match for Everton on Saturday at Manchester City.
Christiansen, who won the treble with Lyon in 2018/19, will now focus on becoming a coach and pundit but will first aim for a charity run from Leeds to Manchester.
"I start with , at the end of June, from Leeds to Manchester, to help raise money for MND [motor neurone disease]. This will be my first endurance competition. I won't overexert myself too soon,” she explained on Sky Sports' Three players and a podcast.
“I feel like it’s 150 percent the right decision [to retire]. I've been thinking about it since the start of this season, I thought it might be on the horizon. Since 2019, I've been working really hard on the media side of things, analyzing football and data to try and deliver a decent peer review or radio talk, and I feel like I've really grown into that. I look at this as a crossroads, and I want to go forward, not sideways.
"The best advice I've ever been given was “never live in the same year twice” and I felt like I was staying in the game playing I just repeat like I [just did ]. When an athlete ends their career, you often don't have the option to do so on your own, and I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I can choose to move on from that. I'm just very excited and grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me. Now it's time for me to move on"
Christiansen, who was part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2017 and helped the Lionesses win the 2019 SheBelieves Cup in the US, added that she is working on earning her UEFA coaching badge B.
Christiansen hopes to help develop women's football through outreach and coaching. Photo: Getty Images/Jess Hornby.
“I want to stay in the sport and help develop the game in any way I can,” he said. She said. "At the moment I'm hooked on coaching, I found it fantastic. This is something I really want to do in the future – and obviously I do a lot of media work. We'll see where it goes in the future."
Christiansen, who has won four major trophies at Manchester City and was named the 2016 PFA Player of the Year in that time, knows that completing her career at Academy Stadium on Saturday is a special time, but insists she doesn't need a guard of honor.
“My time at Man City was definitely the best of my career.” She said. "This seems like a really fitting ending because I'm about to end my career on grass, which we had so many fond memories of"
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There was a time when Christiansen was considered the best player in the Women's Super League and her contribution to Manchester City's winning season in 2016 – so far the only one they have won – came when she was arguably at her peak, revered in sports.
She also scored the winning goal in the final as City lifted their first major women's trophy in the 2014 League Cup, and was part of the team in Birmingham City's only FA Cup triumph in 2012, leaving an indelible mark on both clubs' history.
High standards on and off the training ground have earned her the respect of her peers. Arsenal centre-back Jen Beatty, who previously played alongside Christiansen at Manchester City, added in the same podcast: “You have always taken care of yourself in terms of training and have done your best to become the professional and player that you are.
"You set an example of what it means to be a Manchester City player – you took your diet so seriously that you studied off the pitch. You have done everything possible to become the player that you are. That's your credit as a person and as a player.
Christiansen, who played 156 WSL games through Saturday, is 17th on the league's all-time list. .