Sports world hails 'G.O.A.T' Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner and holder of a slew of records that may never be beaten, confirmed his retirement in a post on Instagram.

FILE: In this file photo taken on February 05, 2017, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 in Houston, Texas. Picture: Timothy A. Clary / AFP

LOS ANGELES - The sporting world hailed Tom Brady on Tuesday as the NFL announced his retirement after 22 seasons.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner and holder of a slew of records that may never be beaten, confirmed his retirement in a post on Instagram.

The 44-year-old said he was finally retiring after a career he described as a "thrilling ride."

Many across the NFL agreed, saluting Brady's competitive spirit and longevity in one of the world's most unforgiving sporting crucibles.

"It was an honor and a privilege to compete against him on the field," Brady's great quarterback rival and friend Peyton Manning said.

"To do it as long as he did, at the highest of levels is absolutely incredible."

Former Denver Broncos quarterback and Hall-of-Famer John Elway added: "When I think about Tom Brady, he’s a true winner who handled himself with class throughout his entire career.

"Even with those seven Super Bowl rings, he never lost that competitive fire to be the best."

Another quarterback legend and rival, former Green Bay Packers signal-caller Brett Favre, described Brady as the "greatest ever to play and you did it with class and humility."

"Man, @TomBrady, what a run!" Favre wrote. "God bless you and your family as you begin a new chapter in your life."

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan -- who finished on the losing side when Brady led the New England Patriots to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history in 2017 -- saluted an "amazing" career.

"Seven Super Bowls (wish it was 6) and countless other records will be hard for anyone to pass," Ryan said.

NBA icon Magic Johnson said Brady would be remembered as the "G.O.A.T" (Greatest of All Time).

"Thank you @TomBrady for 22 years that gave us 7 Super Bowls, several broken records, and making every teammate you played with better," Johnson said.

"That's why you are the GOAT."

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal meanwhile took issue with Brady's decision to retire.

"No man, get your butt up and do one more year," O'Neal quipped, before adding: "Love u bro absolute joy to watch."

England soccer captain Harry Kane added: "Congratulations on an incredible career @TomBrady. Your drive, passion and commitment is inspiring.

"You're the main reason I started following the sport and love the @NFL . Thank you!"

Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps said simply: "Congrats bro! Enjoy the next chapter."

Golfer Justin Thomas said Brady had been an "inspiration to so many."

"You're the best TB. Nobody better in so many facets of life!," Thomas said.