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Former Everton defender Johnny Heitinga retires from playing

Everton player Johnny Heitinga reacts during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Leeds and Everton
Image: Everton player Johnny Heitinga has decided to hang up his boots

Former Everton defender Johnny Heitinga has retired from playing at the age of 32, his club Ajax have announced.

A statement from the Dutch outfit revealed the news and said Heitinga would be taking a job on their coaching staff.

He rejoined Ajax last summer from Hertha Berlin on a one-year deal and has made only two Eredivisie appearances since, both as a substitute.

Prior to spending 2014-15 in Germany with Hertha, Heitinga had five years in English football.

He signed for Everton in 2009 and went on to make over 100 Premier League appearances for the Toffees.

The second half of 2013-14 saw him loaned out from Goodison Park to Fulham, for whom he played 14 times.

Heitinga came through the Ajax academy and had seven seasons as part of their first team before switching to Atletico Madrid for one campaign, then moving on to Everton.

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He won 87 caps for Holland and was sent off in the 2010 World Cup final.

Heitinga said: "My ultimate desire was to return to Amsterdam and at the end of the season as a player for the third time celebrate a championship trophy with the Ajax fans.

"Yet I realised in December that the time to put an end to my active career was coming closer.

"The farewell is slightly ahead of schedule. But I look forward to this new chapter in my life."

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