Benni McCarthy, the most successful South African footballer of the modern era, has retired.
McCarthy began his professional career at now defunct Seven Stars in Cape Town and went on to play in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and England, before returning to South Africa for a swansong with Orlando Pirates.
According to the Soccer-Laduma website, McCarthy announced his decision to hang up his boots via his agency.
“I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium to winner’s medals in the Uefa Champions League and World Club Cup – the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football,” McCarthy said.
“I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two Soccer World Cup finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and an Under-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, have been there for me for the past 15 years and I appreciate that. And finally, my mentor and business manager, Rob Moore, 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. 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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