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Dutch football star Kuyt retires after Feyenoord triumph


The Hague (AFP) – Former Dutch international Dirk Kuyt announced his retirement on Wednesday, three days after his hat-trick steered Feyenoord their first Eredivisie title in 18 years.

“Throughout my career I have always followed my heart when taking decisions and that goes for this one too,” Kuyt said in a statement on Feyenoord’s website.

“To me this feels like the right time to retire. I have had two fantastic years here since returning to Feyenoord, with this season’s title as the absolute pinnacle. 

“I had the dream of winning trophies and becoming a champion with Feyenoord. All my dreams have come true.”

Kuyt, 36, scored all three goals on Sunday as Rotterdam-based Feyenoord beat Heracles 3-1 to clinch the Dutch title after finishing one point clear of Ajax.

He is expected to stay on at Feyenoord in a technical capacity after calling time on his 19-year playing career.

Kuyt made his professional debut at FC Utrecht in 1998, before joining Feyenoord in 2003 where he quickly established himself as a central figure at De Kuip.

After three prolific seasons in Rotterdam, Kuyt was snapped up by Liverpool in 2006 after playing at that year’s World Cup in Germany.

He scored 71 goals — including a late consolation in Liverpool’s 2007 Champions League final defeat to AC Milan — over six seasons with the English club.

The Dutchman, who played 104 times for his country, started every game as the Netherlands reached the 2010 World Cup final only to suffer a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Spain after extra time in Johannesburg.

Kuyt endeared himself to Liverpool supporters with his commitment and down-to-earth approach, but the goals dried up in his final campaign at Anfield and he was sold to Turkish side Fenerbahce in 2012.

He then returned to Feyenoord for a second spell in 2015 on a one-year deal, before extending his stay for one final season.

“It’s a great moment to be back,” Kuyt told Dutch newspapers at the time.

“The difference to my previous stint (at Feyenoord) is that this time around I would really like to win a trophy.”  

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