Franz Schiemer bade an emotional farewell to FC Salzburg supporters on Sunday after announcing his surprise decision to retire from football at the age of 28.
The Austria defender had been hoping to sign off with an appearance in Salzburg's final Bundesliga match before the winter break against SK Rapid Wien, but he was forced to watch his team's 2-1 home defeat from the sidelines due to a muscle injury. Instead, the player capped 25 times by his country was given a rousing reception before kick-off in the company of Salzburg sporting director Ralf Rangnick.
"The last two years haven't been easy for me due to my numerous injuries and I've realised that I'm not as resilient as I'd like to be," said Schiemer, who won three Austrian titles with Salzburg and one with FK Austria Wien as well as a trio of Austrian Cups. "But at the same time, I'm also looking forward to a new life after football. That's why I went to Ralf Rangnick and asked for an early termination of my contract.
"It wasn't an easy decision, but I made it a few months ago and approached the club early on. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for the good talks and for making this possible for me. I've played professional football for 12 years, have had a tremendously successful time and don't see this as sad, but rather I'm looking forward to the future and a lovely time together with my family.
It was not all bad news for Salzburg, though, as UEFA Europa League hopefuls have finalised a contract extension with Martin Hinteregger, keeping the 22-year-old Austria defender on board until June 2019. Salzburg have also agreed an extension with club appearance record holder Christoph Leitgeb, who is set to sign on for another two years with the option of a third year in the next few days.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.