Every June, each Premier League club begins its own mini-exodus of out-of-contract players. Here is the pick of this year's outcasts
This summer a number of top Premier League players have been released from their clubs. The list includes retiring legends, youngsters that didn't make the cut, and players who are looking for a new challenge. Here's a look at the 'Released in 2013' best XI.
GK: Mark Schwarzer - Age: 40 / PL Apps: 504
The Australian stopper has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers of the Premier League era. He has amassed over 500 appearances during 16 seasons with Middlesborough and Fulham and since his release has signed a one-year contract as back-up to Petr Cech at Chelsea.
RB: Paulo Ferreira - Age: 34 / PL Apps: 141 / Goals: 0
As one of José Mourinho's first signings for Chelsea back in 2004, the Portuguese full-back made a number of appearances under his compatriot manager but has since been more of back-up squad member. After nine seasons at the club he has opted to retire after not being offered a new contract.
CB: Jamie Carragher - Age: 35 / PL Apps: 508 / Goals: 4
Regarded as one of the best centre-backs the Premier League has ever seen, Carragher has been a regular for Liverpool for 17 seasons. He retires this year with 38 England caps to his name as well as FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League medals.
CB: Kolo Toure - Age: 32 / PL Apps: 307 / Goals: 11
Having already won the Premier League and FA Cup with Arsenal, Toure moved to Manchester City for £14 million in 2009 where he has added to his medal haul. Having also appeared over 100 times for the Ivory Coast, after being released this June he was snapped up by Liverpool as a Carragher replacement.
LB: Wayne Bridge - Age: 32 / PL Apps: 315 / Goals: 6
After starting his career at Southampton, the left-back secured a move to big spenders Chelsea and subsequently Manchester City. Having also played on loan for Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland, Bridge, who has 36 England caps, signed for recently relegated Reading in June.
MR: Yossi Bennayoun - Age: 33 / PL Apps: 194 / Goals: 31
Popular amongst fans, the Israeli midfielder has racked up almost 200 appearances for West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal and was finally rewarded with a trophy when Chelsea won the Europe League last year. Benayoun is the only player to have scored Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League hattricks and is currently a free agent.
MC: Paul Scholes - Age: 38 / PL Apps: 499 / Goals: 107
Undoubtedly the most successful player to retire this year, the ex-England midfielder is one of the most respected in the game. Scholes has won an incredible 25 trophies in 20 seasons at United and only Lampard and Giggs have scored more Premier League goals from midfield.
MC: Phil Neville - Age: 36 / PL Apps: 505 / Goals: 9
Beginning his career with an eleven-season stint at United, the more versatile of the Neville brothers switched to Everton in 2005 where he soon became captain. Only five players have made more Premier League appearances than Neville and following his retirement this year he has joined up with ex-boss David Moyes on the Manchester United coaching team.
ML: Florent Malouda - Age: 33 / PL Apps: 149 / Goals: 35
Sealing a £13 million move to Chelsea in 2007, the French midfielder was a regular fixture in sides that won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. After handing in a transfer request in 2012, Malouda was dropped from the Chelsea first team for the entire season and has now been released.
CF: Michael Owen - Age: 33 / PL Apps: 326 / Goals: 150
Winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2001, Owen has won everythig in English football throughout a career spent at Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, as well as a spell at Real Madrid. Though injury hampered his second stint in England, Owen remains the seventh highest scoring player of the Premier League era.
CF: Carlton Cole - Age: 29 / PL Apps: 240 / Goals: 44
Cole's somewhat stop-start career began at Chelsea from where he was loaned out to Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa. In 2006 he moved across London to West Ham but has struggled to hit double figures consistently and following his release last month is rumoured to be on the verge of signing for Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace.
Subs: Steve Harper, Matthew Upson, William Gallas, Rory Delap, Andrey Arshavin, David Bentley, Roque Santa Cruz