Asked to reflect on his career, which began when he made his debut for Arsenal in a League Cup tie away to Middlesbrough in November 1999, Cole said: “Incredible.
“As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or be a professional. Looking back, to be able to say I played in World Cups, Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles – it’s a young kid’s dream.
“I fulfilled my dream and now I look to the future, hopefully as a great coach.”
Cole established himself as one of the best defenders in the country at Arsenal, winning three FA Cups and two Premier League titles – his second as part of the famous Invincibles side in 2004.
0:49 Jamie Carragher has paid tribute to Cole following his retirement, saying at one stage of his career, he was the best left-back in the world
He then made a controversial move to Chelsea in 2006 after a contract dispute with the Gunners. Cole infamously described in his book how their offer of £55,000-a-week left him “trembling with anger”.
However, he continued to lift trophies at Stamford Bridge, winning another Premier League title, the Champions League, the League Cup and the Europa League.
Cole also claimed another four FA Cups with the Blues, making him the most successful player in the history of the competition.
Unfortunately for Cole, he could not replicate his trophy-winning success with England. Discussing his international career, he told Sky Sports: “I probably didn’t grasp it as much as I should.