Former Premier League winger Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35, following an 18-year spell as a professional player.
The South African, who represented the Bafana on 62 occasions before retiring internationally in 2012, played for Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at club level, last appearing for Bidvest Wits before leaving there in December.
The 35-year-old also went to the 2002 and 2010 World Cup Finals with South Africa before quitting international football. And now that he has decided to call curtains altogether, he has revealed that he is at peace with his decision, although it was a very difficult one to make.
“For every footballer it is a difficult decision to make. If you play for so long and you come to the end of the book and you have to close it, it is difficult,” he said to TimesLIVE.
JUST IN: Former @BafanaBafana captain, @Everton , @BVB , @AFCAjax , @SpursOfficial & @ajaxcapetown midfielder @therealstevenpi has announced his retirement from football live on @SPORTAT10TV with @thomasmlambo @SPORTATSABC #Legend pic.twitter.com/1EjHJXXXCE— Velile Mbuli (@Veli_Mbuli) February 28, 2018
“If you know what you want after your career you just have to be open to yourself and accept it. For me the last year or couple of months I have been dwelling on the decision.
“I knew at some stage it was going to happen, but first I needed to feel peace to say, ‘this is it’. It took me a while, but it is time."
“At least I am happy, I made it to 35 and most footballers retire at that age," he added. "When I had that peace in me it made it an easy decision.”
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Pienaar, who was a Premier League favourite during his time in England, never won any silverware on British soil, but he did win two league titles with Ajax, as well two KNVB Cups.
He was also named the South African Player of the Year in 2009, winning Everton's Player of the Season Award at the end of the 2009/10 campaign.