Dirk Kuyt Announces Retirement from Football After 19 Years

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2017

Dirk Kuyt of Feyenoord with the tropheeduring Feyenoord Rotterdam honored Eredivisie champions at the Coolsingel on May 15, 2017 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Dirk Kuyt has announced his retirement from football after helping Feyenoord win this season's Eredivisie title.

The former Liverpool striker confirmed his decision on Wednesday, days after scoring a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Heracles that secured the club's first league title since 1999, per Kristof Terreur of Belgian publication Het Laatste Nieuws:

Kuyt leaves the game as a league champion after inspiring Feyenoord to the title in his second spell with the club. His goals to win the league also confirmed his distinction as the most efficient marksman during his time in the Dutch top flight, per OptaJohan:

Kuyt first left Feyenoord in 2006 to join Premier League side Liverpool. He helped the Reds to a UEFA Champions League final appearance in his first season, where he scored in a 2-1 defeat to AC Milan. The former Netherlands international also won the Carling Cup with Liverpool in 2012.

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo saluted the commitment the forward showed during his stint with the Merseyside club:

Yet the 36-year-old will ultimately be remembered best for what he achieved in Rotterdam. He returned to Feyenoord in 2015, and his experience and eye for goal have proved invaluable for manager and former Arsenal man Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Speaking at the club's victory parade on Monday, Kuyt revealed he always believed the title was a realistic possibility for Feyenoord, per BBC Sport: "I knew when I came back two years ago that we could win the championship, and everyone laughed at me when I said so."

Kuyt also called winning the title with Feyenoord "the best moment of my career."

Kuyt established himself as a club legend in two spells at Feyenoord.
Kuyt established himself as a club legend in two spells at Feyenoord.AFP/Getty Images

The attacker originally joined Feyenoord from FC Utrecht in 2003. It was a prolific first spell, during which Kuyt earned the captain's armband and formed a deadly double act with future Chelsea and Lille OSC man Salomon Kalou.