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08 Oct 2010

Edwin van der Sar may retire at the end of the season, according to Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.

Former Netherlands goalkeeper Van der Sar, who moved to Old Trafford from Fulham in 2005, turns 40 on 29 October.

"I think Ed has made his mind up and said this is his last year," Steele told the Manchester Evening News.

"He is a good pro and a sensible and intelligent guy. I don't think he will need myself or the manager to tell him that time has come."

However, Steele did leave the door open for Van der Sar to continuing playing beyond the end of the 2010-11 campaign and suggested that winning the FA Cup - the only domestic medal missing from his collection - could be a motivating factor.

"If he gets to Christmas and he thinks it is right to go on and the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] thinks it is right we will make a decision," Steele added.

"It is down to how he feels and performs. If he doesn't perform the manager will make the decision. Edwin will as well.

"He hasn't won it [the FA Cup] and that is a big target for him.

"When we rotate our goalkeepers I think you will see Mr Van der Sar knocking on the door and asking the boss to play in the FA Cup."

United have recently been linked with a number of goalkeepers, including Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus and Ajax's Martin Stekelenburg, who are seen as potential replacements for Van der Sar.

Another United player - Dimitar Berbatov - has hinted at a timescale for his own retirement from playing, suggesting it is unlikely that he will emulate team-mates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville in continuing into his mid-30s.

"Me? At 35? No way!" the 29-year-old Bulgarian told Inside United. "Seriously, though, everyone is different and you have to know your body is giving you the signals to stop.

"Having been here for two seasons, I know why Giggs, Scholes, Neville have been here for so long and why they are still playing. Here they have the facilities and the coaching staff who know how to prepare you.

"Obviously you need to focus on the football and when you go home, you have to be professional and know how to live your life. I see all these things in these three guys, especially.

"They are still playing at the highest level, so I think to myself, 'Can I do that?' If not, then at least try to see how long I can play for.

"But when your body tells you, that's when you have to stop and not make a fool of yourself."


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