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Dutch football great Dirk Kuyt announces retirement

Kuyt will focus on gaining a position within Feyenoord's technical management team.

IANS | Rotterdam |

Feyenoord Rotterdam captain and former Liverpool star Dirk Kuyt on Wednesday announced his retirement, ending a 19-year-long professional career which has seen him become one of the most versatile footballers.

"Throughout my career I have always followed my heart when taking decisions and that goes for this one too," Kuyt said in a statement posted on the Feyenoord 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," he added.

Feyenoord said that the 36-year-old, who shared his decision with the club's senior management and head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst will train with the squad through to the end of the week and then take up another role at Feyenoord.

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.

Commenting on the development, technical director Van Geel said: "We are incredibly grateful to Dirk for what he has done for Feyenoord these past two years. 

"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."

Kuyt's decision brings to an end an impressive playing career spanning 19 years. He made his first-team debut in the Dutch top-flight playing 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, who can play at multiple positions like forward, winger and attacking midfielder, also made 104 international appearances, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup final and the third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Netherlands' win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup bronze medal match was the last time Kuyt featured in an international match.