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Seven shock sporting retirements including Michael Jordan and Johan Cruyff after tennis star Ash Barty calls it quits

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ASH BARTY stunned the sporting world on Wednesday when she announced her retirement from tennis at the age of just 25.

The three-time Grand Slam champion claimed her home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, for the first time back in January.

EPA
Barty retired from tennis in a major shock to the sporting world[/caption]

And she has now decided to bow out at the top of her game.

Barty’s shocking retirement has led SunSport to look back at some other surprising departures from sport.

Here are seven of the most incredible retirements across a range of different sports.

Michael Jordan – Basketball

AFP
Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time[/caption]

Michael Jordan retired for the first time in 1993 after leading the Chicago Bulls to three successive NBA titles.

The basketball legend stunned fans across the world with his decision as he opted to take up baseball following the death of his father – who he wanted to honour.

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But by the time the 1995/96 season came around the American decided to make a comeback and went on to win three straight titles with the Bulls again.

Johan Cruyff – Football

AFP - Getty
Cruyff is one of the greatest footballers to ever play the game[/caption]

Holland legend Johan Cruyff led the national team to the final of the 1974 World Cup before they were beaten by West Germany.

He then helped them qualify for the ’78 tournament but would retire just one year before, aged 30.

At the time he said his reasoning was because he disagreed with the military dictatorship in Argentina – the hosts of the tournament.

But he later confirmed it was due to his family being involved in a kidnap attempt in Barcelona and he did not want to leave them.

Cruyff told Spanish radio in 2008: “To play a World Cup you have to be 200 per cent okay. There are moments when there are other values in life.”

Holland reached the 1978 final but lost again – this time to Argentina.

Nico Rosberg – Formula 1

Getty
Rosberg won the world title in 2016 before promptly retiring[/caption]

Nico Rosberg dedicated his entire Formula 1 career to winning the drivers’ championship.

When that moment finally came in 2016 at the age of 31, he decided it was time for him to retire.

He had ended Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton‘s hopes of a third straight title, pipping him by just five points.

And that was enough for him to drive off into the sunset as he felt he had achieved all he set out to in the sport.

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Rocky Marciano – Boxing

PA:Press Association
Marciano will go down as one of the greatest ever heavyweights[/caption]

Legendary heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano retired in 1956 at the age of 32.

He hung up his gloves with a record of 49 wins from 49 fights and remains the only ever iconic heavyweight to retire with a 100 per cent record.

He considered coming back in 1959 but abandoned those plans after one month in the gym.

He died in a plane crash in 1969 at the age of 45.

Bjorn Borg – Tennis

Legendary Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg won 11 Grand Slam titles between 1974 and 1981.

But a defeat to John McEnroe in the 1981 US Open final saw his career dwindle in 1982 as he failed to return to form.

And he then retire in 1983 at the age of just 26.

Borg would make the odd appearance on the ATP Tour but never returned to the top of the sport.

Florence Griffith-Joyner – Athletics

Florence Griffith-Joyner, known as “Flo-Jo” won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

She set a time of 10.49 in the US Olympic 100m trials and 21.34 in the 200m final in Seoul – world records which still stand today.

Yet despite never testing positive, she was continually accused of taking performance enhancing drugs.

She swiftly retired after the 1988 Games and died 10 years later, suffocating during an epileptic seizure.

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Juan Manuel Fangio – Formula 1

Widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio stunned fans by retiring at the very top of his game.

The South American decided to walk away from the sport in 1958 having won the drivers’ championship in each of the last four seasons.

Granted, he was 47 years old. But he could have won more titles had he not made the conscious decision to step away.

To this day, Michael Schumacher and Hamilton are the only men to have won more F1 world titles than Fangio.

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