Netherlands and Feyenoord captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst will retire from football after the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
The 35-year-old left-back announced his decision at Feyenoord's De Kuip home on Wednesday, making his long-held intentions clear two weeks after club-mate Roy Makaay also bowed out. Van Bronckhorst, who will be given an official farewell match against RCD Mallorca on 25 July, said: "
A huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I am free in my head again. I have had doubts in recent months. It has not been an easy phase in my career."
Capped 97 times by the Netherlands, Van Bronckhorst is set to go to his third World Cup finals – where his side are in a group with Denmark, Japan and Cameroon – having also played at the last three UEFA European Championships. He now intends to each a coaching licence, and like Makaay is set to remain in some function with Feyenoord, saying: "I want to stay involved with the first team. That is also the responsibility I feel as captain."
First joining Feyenoord aged seven, he made his senior debut on loan at RKC Waalwijk on 6 March 1994 and his career took him to Rangers FC, Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona before his 2007 return to Rotterdam. Van Bronckhorst won two domestic doubles at Rangers and one with Arsenal, while he helped Barcelona to 2005/06 UEFA Champions League success as well as two Liga titles. He also won a Dutch Cup in each of his Feyenoord spells.
"By quitting I can close the book on a whole part of my life," he added. "I could not wish for more than to end my career in a Feyenoord shirt. I have had a great career, and hope to give it some extra shine in South Africa. I will do everything I can with the team and staff to bring the World Cup to the Netherlands. That would be a fantastic finish."
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