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Frank Rost hangs up his gloves


GarethRDR
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Having come to the end of his contract with NY Red Bulls, veteran goalkeeper Frank Rost has called an end to his 21-year long career. He made his announcement last night on German show Sky90:

"New York was my last stop. My career is finished. I want to get away and enjoy myself now".

Rost's big break came when he was spotted playing for lower league outfit 1. FC Markkleeberg by Werder Bremen's scouts. After a mere 3 games for Werder's reserve team, Rost was handed his debut in a 1-1 draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Thanks to injuries to then #1 Oliver Reck, Rost would retain his starting spot for a further 15 games that campaign.

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Rost in his early days for Werder Bremen

Though Rost would find his opportunities scarce the following season, at the start of 98/99 he would be installed as Werder's #1 (Reck having departed for Schalke in July). Though having played a minor cameo role on the road to Werder's DFB-Pokal win back in 1994, this campaign would see Rost enjoy a major trophy win first-hand, and in some style. In a thrilling DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich, a 1-1 stalemate forced the game to penalties.

After Oliver Kahn saved Werder's second (a tame effort from Jens Todt sent straight down the middle), all Stefan Effenberg had to do was convert the very last penalty to win the trophy for Bayern. He blazed wildly over the bar, taking the shootout to sudden death. With renewed confidence, it was none other than Rost himself who stepped up to take the next penalty, sending Kahn the wrong way and coolly slotting home. Yet Rost's moment of glory was yet to come; correctly guessing that Lothar Matthäus would send the next penalty to the right, Rost punched away the ball for the win and was duly swamped by his comrades. This was the crowning moment of his career.

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Immediately after converting his own, Rost saves a Matthäus penalty to win the DFB Pokal

Rost would remain at Werder Bremen until July 2002 when a €6.5m move to Schalke would reunite him with his former mentor Oliver Reck, though not before Rost would become only the second goalkeeper in Bundesliga history to score a goal from open play (Jens Lehmann having previously scored a header for Schalke in 1997); Rost netted a dramatic 90th minute equaliser against Hansa Rostock (Werder would subsequently win the game 4-3 through an Aílton penalty 2 minutes later).

Rost enjoyed relative success at Schalke, finishing runner's up in the league to Bayern Munich in 2005 and later that year (in the following campaign) winning the Ligapokal against VfB Stuttgart (Rost keeping a clean sheet in the final, allowing Schalke to earn victory through a solitary Kevin Kuranyi goal). This would prove to be Rost's last season at Schalke, due to the emergence of a promising young talent from their academy by the name of Manuel Neuer.

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Rost celebrates Schalke's Ligapokal win in 2006

In the January transfer window of 2007, Rost departed for Hamburg SV (for a bargain fee of €1.5m) where he would spend the next 5 seasons as HSV's first-choice goalkeeper. Rost would become a fan favourite with his reliability and ice-cool presence, and has certainly left big gloves to fill at the Imtech Arena.

Last July, Rost set off for a final adventure in the MLS with New York Red Bulls. Alas, one last trophy to mark the end of a storied career proved elusive as NY Red Bulls were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs by eventual winners LA Galaxy.

It is a shame that Rost has not enjoyed a greater presence on the international stage, having only 4 caps to his name (comprising 3 friendlies and a European Championship qualifier against the Faroe Islands). He does, however, hold the record for UEFA Cup appearances for a German player (89 games prior to the inception of the Europa League) and has kept a remarkable 125 clean sheets throughout his senior career.

So to Frank Rost, in whatever he decides to do next; Auf Wiederhören und viel Glück!

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