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Dirk Kuyt has decided to hang up his playing boots, ending an illustrious career that culminated in him captaining Feyenoord to Sunday’s Eredivisie title. The 36-year-old shared his decision with the club’s senior management and head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Wednesday morning. Kuyt will train with the squad through to the end of the week and then take up another role at Feyenoord.
Dirk Kuyt’s decision brings to an end an impressive playing career spanning 19 years. He made his first-team debut in the Eredivisie for FC Utrecht in 1998-1999. Five seasons later he moved to Feyenoord, where he was top scorer at De Kuip every season for three years. He went to play at Liverpool for six seasons before spending a further three at Fenerbahçe. Kuyt also made 104 international appearances, including the 2010 World Cup final.
When returning to De Kuip in the summer of 2015 Kuyt expressed his wish to win silverware. Last season he helped Feyenoord win the KNVB Cup and last Sunday he made it two trophies in two years, scoring three times to guide the club to its first Eredivisie title in the 21st century. Players and staff celebrated the triumph with the Feyenoord fans in the centre of Rotterdam on Monday.
Kuyt will focus on gaining a position within Feyenoord’s technical management team. With that goal in mind, over the coming time he will follow a sports management-oriented programme. Technical director Martin van Geel will act as his mentor.
‘We are incredibly grateful to Dirk for what he has done for Feyenoord these past two years,’ says Van Geel. ‘He has added a huge deal with his attitude, professionalism and passion. In the dressing room, on the pitch and beyond. So we are delighted to be able to retain someone with his experience and attitude at the club. I will tutor Dirk and I could easily imagine him taking over from me in due course.’
‘Throughout my career I have always followed my heart when taking decisions and that goes for this one too,’ says Kuyt. ‘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.’