Jermain Defoe, a former England striker, has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 39. Defoe played in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, scoring 20 goals in 57 games for his country. His career came to an end with a return to Sunderland, where he made his final appearance as a substitute in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Lincoln in Sky Bet League One.
“I have chosen to retire from professional football after 22 years in the game,” he wrote on Instagram. “It’s been a really difficult decision, and one I’ve addressed with my family and friends.” With 162 goals in 496 appearances, Defoe is the ninth-best scorer in Premier League history. The well-traveled striker began his professional career with West Ham. In addition to playing for Portsmouth, Major League Soccer team Toronto, and Rangers, he had two periods with three clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth, and Sunderland.
“I made my professional debut in 1999 when I was 17 years old, and I believe now is the proper moment to retire,” he wrote in his statement. “I’ve had a wonderful trip and met some incredible individuals in the game,” he said. “Football will always be in my blood, and it brings me tremendous pride and satisfaction to reflect on my fortunate career.” I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family before embarking on the next phase of my career.”
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