Former Ajax, Juventus and Barcelona midfielder Edgar Davids has seemingly retired from professional football—for the third and, presumably, final time—at the age of 40.
The former Netherlands international, currently player-manager at English side Barnet, reportedly told journalists of his decision following Saturday’s game against Salisbury—during which he received his third red card of the season for the Skrill Premier side.
With the latest dismissal taking his record to five reds in 38 games for the club, Davids told reporters he would be stopping playing in order to focus exclusively on management, believing non-league referees are focusing on him because of his international profile.
Davids was sent off in the 81st minute on Saturday for a second bookable offence after he kicked out at an opponent, as Barnet lost 2-1 and dropped to ninth in the table.
According to The Guardian, Davids told local media:
I don't think I am going to play any more because they are taking away the fun.
I think I know for definite now that the league is targeting Barnet. I don't know how many games we have played now but there is weird decision-making all the time. It is ridiculous, especially the first [yellow card] because everyone can see I cleared the ball. That was an absolute disgrace. The other one for the red card was also a disgrace.
I am a target … I want the team to do well. If you look at the red cards, some are definitely red cards and some are exaggerated. It is hard to complete our tasks when a lot of decisions are against you.
Davids enjoyed an impressive professional career at some of the biggest clubs in Europe; making his breakthrough at Ajax alongside the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert and Edwin van der Sar in the 1990s in a celebrated team that lifted the Champions League in 1995.
He subsequently moved to AC Milan in 1996 but lasted only one season before being sold to Juventus, where he helped the club to three Serie A titles in a six-year spell.
Prior to his departure from the Turin side he was briefly loaned to Barcelona in 2004, before joining Inter Milan on a permanent deal. After one season back at the San Siro he then joined Tottenham, gracing the Premier League for two seasons before returning back to his first club, Ajax.
He retired from football (for the first time) at the end of the 2007-08 season for the Amsterdam club, before surprisingly coming out of retirement to help Crystal Palace in a pay-as-you-play agreement that lasted three months.
In October 2012, Davids—following a spell on the Ajax board—joined Barnet, who at the time were the bottom club in the Football League, as player-manager alongside Mark Robson.
That year he told the Daily Telegraph:
What I tell them here at Barnet is don’t see football as your hobby. If you do, then go somewhere else.
This is your job, nine to five. It’s a hobby that you make your profession.
However, he has been a polarising figure at Barnet since his arrival, sticking with the club following their relegation from League Two last season but subsequently refusing to go to away matches that require an overnight stay—preferring instead to leave assistant Ulrich Landvreugd in charge, per the Daily Mail.
At international level, Davids received 74 caps for Der Oranje, representing his country at one World Cup and two European Championships.
In 1999, following complications due to previous eye surgeries and glaucoma, Davids began wearing special protective glasses on the pitch—a necessary adornment that became something of a trademark.