Van der Sar goes down in history saving a Chelsea penalty in the 2008 Champions League final [GALLO/GETTY]

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.

The Netherlands' most-capped player with 130 appearances says he wants to spend more time with his family.

The 40-year-old keeper said in a statement issued by his management that he still feels fit, but "enough is enough.''

Career high

Van der Sar joined United from Fulham in 2005 and has made 245 appearances for the Old Trafford club, winning three English Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League crown.

Van der Sar's wife Annemarie suffered a stroke last year.

"She fought back bravely, so we decided to stay in England and at Manchester United for another year,'' Van der Sar said.

"But once the season began, the thought of saying goodbye began to gnaw at me.''

"My age played no role, I am 40 years old, but I still feel fit.

"And then the decision came suddenly. Do not ask me how or why, but suddenly you know. That was sufficient."

European hero

Van der Sar began his career at Ajax Amsterdam before moving to Juventus and on to Fulham in 2001.

He said his most memorable save came in the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea when he stopped a penalty from Nicolas Anelka to help Manchester United lift Europe's top club trophy.

"I've made better saves, but that one was so decisive,'' he said.

"The joy I experienced with the team after that was so intense I'll never forget it.''

Among a lengthy list of trophies, he also won the Champions League in 1995 and the Uefa Cup in 1992 with Ajax, as well as four Eredivisie league titles with the Dutch powerhouse.

He set an English league record in 2009 for time without conceding a goal when he went more than 21 hours unbeaten.

United are five points clear at the top of the Premier League and Van der Sar has played in 21 of their 23 league games this season.

Van der Sar said his biggest disappointment was never winning a prize with the Netherlands national team.

"We came close, but it wasn't to be.'' 

Source: Agencies