Jermain Defoe: When Premier League legend tried to steal free-kick from Toronto teammate

Jermain Defoe has officially retired from football just over a month after re-joining Sunderland.

The 39-year-old legend announced the decision on Thursday morning and it brings an end to a truly remarkable playing career.

Defoe is one of the most underrated strikers of the 21st century. In Premier League action with Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Bournemouth, he scored a whopping 163 goals.

Only a handful of footballers have found the back of the net more times in the English top-flight since the start of the 1992/93 campaign.

Defoe was also pretty effective in his time at Rangers. In 74 games across all competitions at the club, he scored 32 goals and helped the team win the Scottish Premiership in 2020/21.

Defoe’s retirement post

Perhaps the most forgettable spell of his glittering career came at Toronto FC. The former England international joined the Canadian club in 2014 from Spurs and only played 21 times for them.

He still managed to score 12 goals in that time, though, which is actually a pretty decent return.

And in one of the matches in which he scored for Toronto, Defoe was involved in an incident that will forever remain iconic.

In the 75th-minute of a match against New York Red Bulls with the scores level at 1-1, Toronto were awarded a free-kick and Defoe was desperate to take it.

But he wasn’t the designated set-piece taker. That was Gilberto, although that didn’t stop the Englishman fighting for the chance to have a shot on goal.

Defoe eventually accepted defeat after labelling the situation a ‘f*****g joke’ and stormed off. However, he wasn’t angry for long…

Video: Defoe instantly regretted trying to take free-kick off Gilberto

Just seconds after Defoe’s little tantrum, Gilberto scored an absolute screamer from the free-kick.

And Defoe, who clearly realised he’d made himself look a tad silly on camera, reacted in brilliant fashion to the moment of magic by his teammate.

The striker had a huge smile on his face and ran over to celebrate with Gilberto in style. To borrow a cliche, you love to see it!

That was actually Gilberto’s first ever MLS goal and you have to wonder whether Defoe’s fury motivated him to find the back of the net even more.

Maybe it was all just an elaborate plan by Jermain…

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