Former England striker Jermain Defoe has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 39.
efoe scored 20 goals in 57 games for his country and traveled to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
His career ended with a second spell at Sunderland, with his last appearance as a substitute coming in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Lincoln in Sky Bet League One.
“After 22 years in football I have decided to retire from professional football,” he posted on Instagram.
“It was a really difficult decision that I have discussed with my family and those closest to me.”
Defoe is the ninth-highest goalscorer in Premier League history with 162 goals in 496 games.
The well-travelled frontman began his career at West Ham. He has had two spells with three clubs – Tottenham, Bournemouth and Sunderland – and has also played for Portsmouth, major league soccer club Toronto FC and Rangers.
“I made my professional debut in 1999 at the age of 17 and I think now is the right time to retire,” his post continued. “I’ve had an incredible journey and met some amazing people in the game.
“Football will always be in my blood and it gives me great pride and satisfaction to look back on the blessed career I’ve had. I am now looking forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family.”
Defoe, who scored 304 goals in 762 club games, was part of the Tottenham side that won the League Cup in 2008 and last year’s Scottish Premiership title with Rangers.
He made his England debut in March 2004 in a 1-0 defeat by Sweden during Sven-Göran Eriksson’s tenure. His last international match came in a 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw against Scotland in 2017.
In addition to his exploits on the pitch, Defoe developed a close friendship with terminally ill Sunderland supporter Bradley Lowery.
Lowery, who died in 2017 at the age of six, was featured in the picture that accompanied Defoe’s retirement message.
“Thank you to all the fans of every club I’ve played for,” the post continued.
“The love I have received and endured throughout my career will never be forgotten and I will always have a special bond with all of you. Thank you also to my amazing teammates, coaches and staff who play such an important role in my career.
“Finally, I would like to thank my mother. You gave me a ball when I was two and made me believe that my dream could come true. Everything I am I owe to you, and I owe everything to you and to God.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/i-feel-now-is-the-right-time-to-bow-out-former-england-striker-jermain-defoe-announces-retirement-aged-39-41482595.html ‘I think now is the right time to retire’ – Former England striker Jermain Defoe announces his retirement at the age of 39