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General: Five Stars Who Retired at the Top

Nico Rosberg, who retired on the back of winning the Formula 1 Drivers' Championship with Mercedes, celebrates his 37th birthday today.

With that in mind, we've taken a look at five stars, including the German, who decided to call time on their careers not long after reaching the pinnacles of their sport.

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg's first driving experience came aged four during a holiday with his family, when he was trusted to steer a jeep around a go-karting track while his father took charge of the pedals.

The German picked up the racing bug immediately and was racing competitively just two years later, winning regional and national French championships, before stepping up to European and world championship level.

After winning the GP2 Series in 2005, representing ART Grand Prix, he subsequently earned a spot on the F1 grid in 2006 after being snapped up by Williams.

He picked up just four points during that debut campaign, but showed enough of an improvement over the following three seasons with the team to seal a switch to Mercedes in 2010.

As Mercedes started to improve, Rosberg's chances of winning the Drivers' Championship also grew stronger and he finished second in the standings in 2014 and 2015, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton coming out on top.

Rosberg came out fighting in 2016, winning the opening four races and went on to seal nine victories overall with a further seven podium finishes enough to pip Hamilton to the title by five points.

Years of hard work had finally come to fruition, before Rosberg shocked the F1 world just five days after being crowned champion by announcing his retirement with immediate effect, admitting "this has been my target and now I've made it".

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona was a mercurial figure during his playing days. The enigmatic Frenchman made his senior debut in his homeland with Auxerre in 1983, before linking up with Marseille in 1988.

A switch to Nimes followed in 1991, before he crossed the Channel to link up with Leeds United, initially on loan, in 1992.

His time at Elland Road didn't last too long as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson swooped to snap up King Eric for a mere £1million.

Cantona bagged nine goals in 22 Premier League appearances during his debut campaign for the Red Devils, helping them to win the title, while he was an integral figure in further success for the Old Trafford outfit over the following years.

He won four league titles and two FA Cups with United, wearing the club's iconic number seven shirt, while he came third in the Ballon d'Or rankings in 1993.

Despite being a major part of the set-up for United in 1996-97, ending the campaign at the top of the league's assist charts and aged just 30, Cantona announced his retirement after falling out of love with the game.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov might not be a household name to the casual sports fan, but he will be fondly remembered by those who follow mixed martial arts.

He stitched together a 16-0 record fighting with organisations in Russia and Ukraine before he was snapped up by the UFC.

The Dagestan-born fighter added another nine victories to his CV before getting the chance to compete for the vacant lightweight title in 2018.

Known for his wrestling, Khabib defeated Al Iaquinta to seal the gold and he went on to make three successful defences, overcoming Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

After securing a submission win over Gaethje and extending his record to 29-0, Khabib shocked the MMA world by leaving his gloves in the octagon and revealing that his career was over.

Khabib revealed the death of his father and coach, Abdulmanap, just three months before his bout with Gaethje, was the leading factor in his decision to stop competing.

The 33-year-old, who now runs his own organisation and coaches, is set to be inducted into the 2022 UFC Hall of Fame in July at International Fight Week in Las Vegas.

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Floyd Mayweather

Staying with combat sports and boxer Floyd Mayweather is another who signed off his professional career without tasting defeat.

Regarded as one of the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves, Mayweather ended a career that spanned three decades with a 50-0 record.

Mayweather fought across five weight classes and won titles in each of them to establish himself as the top pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

The American was extremely hard to hit, but he was also very effective on the attack and picked up 27 KO/TKO victories.

He won 26 consecutive world title fights and was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2010s by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Mayweather retired three times during his career. He first confirmed an intention to leave the sport after beating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, before returning to face Ricky Hatton later that year.

His second retirement came in the ring after defeating Andre Berto in 2015, however, a big-money cross-promotion fight with Conor McGregor tempted him back two years later.

UFC fighter McGregor lasted 10 rounds before Mayweather, aged 40, claimed a TKO win to reach 50-0 and he went into retirement for the third and final time.

"Money" has returned to the ring for exhibition bouts since, but he looks unlucky to ever fight professionally again.

Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty was destined to be a star from a young age, making his professional debut on the ITF Women's Circuit when just 14.

She made her Grand Slam debut at 15, appearing in the 2012 Australian Open after winning all five of her qualifying matches without dropping a single set - despite being the youngest player - to secure a wildcard.

Barty exited in the first round but it proved to be great experience and she turned out in the French Open and Wimbledon later that year.

The Australian's first WTA Tour title arrived in 2017 when winning the Malaysia Open, but a first Grand Slam crown was still a couple of years further down the line.

After going out in the last-eight in the 2019 edition of the Australian Open, Barty went on to win the French Open.

She followed that up with further Grand Slam glory at Wimbledon in 2021 and the Australian Open in 2022, becoming the first home player to win the men's or women's singles at the Melbourne showpiece in 44 years.

Just two months later, Barty, who was ranked number one in the world and aged just 25, decided to walk away from tennis.

Barty said she had "given everything" to the sport and admitted she had been considering retirement ever since her Wimbledon triumph.

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