Ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.
The South African footballer earned 79 caps for his country, enjoyed a career spanning some 18 years and played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
McCarthy enjoyed spells in Holland, Spain, Portugal and England, where he played for teams such as Ajax, Celta Vigo, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
However, the highlight of his career is be the time he spent with FC Porto, from Portugal, where he won the Portuguese league twice, the Portuguese Cup and the most prestigious trophy in Europe: the Champions League.
He currently plays for Orlando Pirates in his native state but officially revealed that he will be be retiring at the end of this month.
He said: "I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winners' medals in the UEFA Champions League and World Club Cup - the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football.
"I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two World Cup finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and a U-20 World Cup finals will be memories that live in my heart forever.
"And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.
"It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I've been privileged to have played under many great coaches, including the very best, Jose Mourinho.
"Football has been good to me - it has provided special moments and in the process, has enabled me to have been in a position to have improved the lives of my family members. For that, I am most grateful.
"I'd like to thank so many people for making so many aspects of this journey possible. My family has always been a tremendous support, especially my mom, Dora, and my late father, Dudley. I trust that I have made them proud in some small way.
"Sponsors, like Nike, who have been there for me for the past 15 years and I appreciate that. And finally, my mentor and business manager, Rob Moore, who has walked along this road with me since I joined him in 1995 as a 17 year-old."
"Football is my life. I have played the game and I love the game, it's in my blood," he said.
"For the next chapter, I'd like to concentrate on getting my Coaching Badges and at the same time, be part of a club where I can get practical experience. I'd also like to do some television work because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well."
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