Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 36.
The former Dutch international makes the announcement just days after scoring a hat-trick against Heracles to clinch the Eredivisie title. He also represented Holland on 104 occasions, scoring 24 goals and featuring in five major international tournaments.
In England, he’ll be remembered for six impressive seasons with Premier League club Liverpool. He joined the reds from Feyenoord at the beginning of the 2006/07 season for a fee of £10 million.
Liverpool reached the Champions League final in his debut season and he scored the only goal in a 2-1 defeat against AC Milan. Overall, he scored 71 goals in 286 appearances for Liverpool, before leaving Anfield at the end of the 2011/12 season.
He continued to perform at the top level with spells at Turkish side Fenerbahce and a return to Feyenoord. The 36-year-old finished his career in typical fashion, by scoring three times in Feyenoord’s final game of the season against Heracles to clinch the Eredivisie title.
Versatile, Scrappy and Hard Working
Dirk Kuyt never played the game in an elegant, apt or classy manor during his 19-year playing career. He was renowned for his scrappy tap-ins and admirable work ethic, which made him an incredibly valuable player.
It seemed Kuyt would never explode onto the world’s biggest stage during the early stages of his career at Utrecht. He signed his first professional contract in 1998 at the age of 18 but he struggled to establish himself.
However, when manager Foeke Booy took charge at the club in the 2002/03 season that the young Dutchman’s fortunes changed. He was given a more attacking role and repaid him with 20 league goals and 23 goals in all competitions.
Kuyt also helped inspire them to the KNVB Cup final, where they beat his eventual club Feyenoord 4-1. He would leave Utrecht for Feyenoord at the end of the season for a fee of £1 million.
He was also beginning to work his way into the Dutch national team and he made his international debut in September 2004. Back to club football and Kuyt was scoring goals for fun back at Feyenoord.
During his three seasons at the club, the Dutchman scored 83 goals in 122 appearances. He also represented Holland at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but the Oranje were eliminated by Portugal in the Round of 16.
Interest from top European clubs would follow Dirk Kuyt and he selected Liverpool as his next destination. Kuyt was renowned for his scrappy style and tap-ins during his time at Anfield and he clinched the League Cup in his final season.
He enjoyed two successful tournaments with Holland at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. In South Africa, Holland were marginally close to winning the World Cup until Andres Iniesta scored an extra-time winner in the final. They also reached the semi-finals under Louis Van Gaal in Brazil, where they eventually beat the hosts in the third-place final.
Kuyt continued to perform at the top level following his spell in the Premier League. He spent three years with Turkish giants Fenerbahce, winning the Super Lig title in the 2013/14 season. A return to Feyenoord followed and he ended a glistening career with a stunning hat-trick to clinch his first ever Eredivisie title.
The 36-year-old with 319 goals in 902 goals in all competitions for club and country from between 1998 and 2017. He ended his career on a high and with someone of his work ethic and attitude, he has the characteristics to become a very good manager.