FC Schalke 04 defender Christoph Metzelder has announced his retirement from professional football.
Metzelder, who won 47 caps for Germany, will hang up his boots in the summer, having made just one Bundesliga start all season. The 32-year-old centre-back has suffered a series of injury setbacks in recent campaigns and will be denied a potential swansong against SC Freiburg on Saturday because of a muscle problem.
Metzelder started his senior career with Borussia Dortmund in 2000. He went on to make 126 league appearances for this season's UEFA Champions League finalists, before joining Real Madrid CF in 2007. He turned out only 23 times in the Liga during his time with the Merengues and returned to the Bundesliga with Schalke three years ago.
A mainstay of the Germany sides that finished runners-up at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and third on home soil four years later, Metzelder also helped his country to the UEFA EURO 2008 final. His biggest club successes were league titles with Dortmund (2002) and Madrid (2008), as well as a German Cup triumph with Schalke two years ago.
Metzelder plans to stay involved in the game as a television pundit, while he also runs his own charity. "I am grateful and so proud of the career that I have had," he said. "I always had the chance and the privilege of playing with established clubs vying for titles."
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