Netherlands and Feyenoord legend Dirk Kuyt has announced his retirement from football, just 3 days after his hat-trick saw Feyenoord pip Ajax to the Eredivisie title. The former Liverpool striker, who has been playing as a holding midfielder for Feyenoord, scored two goals inside 12 minutes and then converted a penalty to seal the title for Feyenoord – their first in 18 years.
Technical director Martin van Geel declared: “We are thankful for everything Dirk has done for Feyenoord.”
Kuyt, who has also won 105 caps for Holland and spent six years at Anfield making 286 appearances for the Reds, will remain with the Rotterdammers in an off-field role. The club captain has scored 116 goals for Feyenoord in addition to the 51 he scored for Liverpool. He has also scored 24 goals for his national side. He also had a successful stint in Turkey, winning the Turkish Super Ligue, the Turkish Cup and the Turkish Super Cup with Fenerbahce.
“Throughout my career, I have always followed my heart when taking decisions and that goes for this one too,” said Kuyt.
“To me, this feels like the right time to retire. I have had two fantastic years here since returning to Feyenoord, with this season’s title as the absolute pinnacle.
“I had the dream of winning trophies and becoming a champion with Feyenoord. All my dreams have come true.”
Here we look at a few facts you probably didn’t know about the under-appreciated Dutchman:
1) His nickname is “Duracell”
Such was the energy and enthusiasm of the man, that the then Liverpool manager gave him the nickname ‘ Duracell’ in his days at Anfield. Kuyt always put the team ahead of himself, giving his blood and sweat for whichever side he played for. It is a trait every manager would love to have in a player, so Benitez named him after the everlasting Duracell battery.
The Spaniard told the Daily Telegraph: “You could call him Mr Duracell, because of the way he plays, always running and always on the go.
“But we knew when we signed him that he was that sort of player, because he has been doing it for years. He’s done really well this year, creating things and scoring goals, but maybe that is because the team is doing better.
He continued, “You can use him in so many different ways so you can pretty much guarantee he will be in the starting line-up.”
2) He once played in 3 positions in a single game
Netherlands had a wonderful 2014 World Cup campaign under Louis Van Gaal, reaching the semi-finals when no one expected them to, and eventually losing out to Argentina in the penalty shootout. Kuyt had a vital role to play for the ORANJE in the tournament, and such was his versatility that Van Gaal deployed him in three positions in a game against Mexico, Left wing back, Right Back and Centre Forward.
And to think he plays as a holding midfielder for his club. That is some versatility.
Former #LFC forward Dirk Kuyt has announced his retirement from playing professional football. Full story: https://t.co/rf2rb7VQvy
3) He is a philanthropist
A brilliant footballer on the field, a wonderful human being off it – Kuyt is a man who has zero haters. The Dutch footballer and his wife have set up the Dirk Kuyt Foundation, which helps disabled children have a better life. The foundation supports children in various countries including Brazil, Nepal and Ghana.
As a footballer you get asked to do a lot of things,” Kuyt said.
“You always want to help but sometimes it can be difficult to respond to everything. When I was at Feyenoord a friend said to me ‘why don’t you start your own foundation so you can reach a lot of people?’.
“We started to support disabled children, providing them with all different kinds of sports. We’ve been doing that for the past four years and it’s been going really well.
“It has grown quickly and now we support around 64 projects across the country. There is not enough money for these children to do the things they like to do. We’re able to give them the chance they deserve to play sports.”
4) He will get into management after hanging up his boots
Kuyt is due to join a management course after announcing his retirement from football. The Dutch footballer has been playing under former teammate Giovanni Van Bronckhorst at Feyenoord and would want to follow in the footsteps of the former Netherlands captain. Given that he has excelled in everything he has done so far, we are absolutely sure Kuyt would be a brilliant manager.