MALAGA, Spain (Sporting Alert) — Punishing striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has announced that he is retiring from football at the age of 35.
The former Netherlands international made the announcement after helping Malaga to their first ever top-four finish this season – a feat that ensured the team will make its first appearance in the UEFA Champions League next season.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star made his decision after struggling to get back close to his best since arriving from Hamburg last year.
“Yesterday was my final game as a professional footballer. I wanted to play in the Champions League, but it is the moment to leave,” said Van Nistelrooy, who scored just five goals in his 32 appearances.
“I have arrived at my physical limit and I can’t play at the maximum level. I couldn’t have had a better send-off than this.
“I feel happy that I am the one taking this decision. I would like to thank Malaga, the technical and medical staff for an unforgettable year.
“I am proud to have won collective and individual titles, but my greatest satisfaction was to be able to work day after day, year after year.”
Van Nistelrooy scored 35 goals in 70 international appearances for the Netherlands. He is also the second-leading goalscorer in the Champions League of all-time with 54 from 81 appearances.
“I would like to thank Malaga, my team-mates, the coaches, the physios, [sporting director] Antonio Fernandez, Fernando Hierro and the fans for this unforgettable year,” said Van Nistelrooy, who netted 150 goals in 219 games in his five seasons for Manchester United.
“I would also like to thank the fans of Den Bosch, Heerenveen, PSV, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Hamburg.”