Former Porto, Blackburn and West Ham striker Benni McCarthy retires
South African striker Benni McCarthy has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.
Last Updated: 06/06/13 3:45pm
McCarthy, who enjoyed a career spanning some 18 years, earned 79 caps for his country whilst playing for some of Europe's biggest clubs.
McCarthy had spells in Holland, Spain, Portugal and England, featuring for the likes of Ajax, Celta Vigo, Blackburn and West Ham.
Currently with Orlando Pirates in his homeland, he will officially hang up his boots at the end of this month.
"I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winner's medals in the Uefa Champions League and World Club Cup - the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football," he said.
"I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two World Cup Finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and a u-20 World Cup Finals will be memories that live in my heart forever.
"And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.
"It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I've been privileged to have played under many great Coaches, including the very best, Jose Mourinho.
"Football has been good to me - it has provided special moments and in the process, has enabled me to have been in a position to have improved the lives of my family members. For that, I am most grateful.
"I'd like to thank so many people for making so many aspects of this journey possible. My family has always been a tremendous support, especially my mom, Dora, and my late father, Dudley. I trust that I have made them proud in some small way.
"Sponsors, like Nike, who have been there for me for the past 15 years and I appreciate that. And finally, my mentor and business manager, Rob Moore, who has walked along this road with me since I joined him in 1995 as a 17 year-old."
McCarthy will now take some time out away from the game as he gears up for his next challenge.
"Football is my life. I have played the game and I love the game, it's in my blood," he said.
"For the next chapter, I'd like to concentrate on getting my Coaching Badges and at the same time, be part of a club where I can get practical experience. I'd also like to do some television work because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well."