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Why is the English print media so determined to undermine this man at every opportuity? "There was no firm offer and the 43-year old was forced to accept that his days in the top flight were over once again." They offered him the chance to sign a new contract during the summer, and he said not yet. I think that was a pretty big indication that he may have been considering retiring.
If his heart was in it, he would have signed there and then. He's not an idiot, he saw that Mercedes are going absolutely nowhere so decided enough was enough. If he thought there was any chance Merc would improve next year then im sure he would have resigned in the summer when he was offered a contract.