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Football: 2019 sees wave of Dutch stars' retirements

Football: 2019 sees wave of Dutch stars' retirements
Exit of Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder marks end of era for Netherlands

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) - The year 2019 saw a wave of retirements by Dutch football stars, marking the end of an era for the Netherlands.

Three 2010 FIFA World Cup silver medalists -- Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder -- ended their professional football careers this year.

They were regulars on the Dutch national football team for many years as part of the offense, which was crucial during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Netherlands returned home with the silver medal in what was their best performance of this generation.

Spain beat them 1-0 that year in the final in Johannesburg to win the World Cup.

Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder were also called for national duty in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The Netherlands defeated the tournament's host nation Brazil 3-0 in the third-place playoff to clinch the bronze medal.

But after securing medals in 2010 and 2014, they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Van Persie, 36, played for Dutch club Feyenoord, English Premier League teams Arsenal and Manchester United and Turkey's Fenerbahce.

The veteran Dutch forward ended his 18-year-long football career in May, last playing for Feyenoord.

He won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2013 and the UEFA Cup in 2002 while playing for Feyenoord.

Van Persie scored 50 goals in 102 international matches for the Netherlands and is still the all-time top scorer for his country.

Meanwhile, he netted a total of 274 goals in 596 club appearances.

His compatriot, Robben, retired from football at the age of 35 in July.

Robben played for several football heavyweights, including Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

He also played for PSV Eindhoven from 2002 to 2004.

In the summer of 2004, he joined London club Chelsea, his first experience playing for an international club.

The former Netherlands winger lastly played for Bayern Munich, where he won eight German Bundesliga titles.

During his 10-season spell at Bayern, Robben helped his team win the UEFA Champions League final in 2013 at London's Wembley Stadium, scoring the winning goal against rivals Borussia Dortmund near the end of the match.

He made 96 appearances for the Netherlands and scored 37 goals for his country.

Throughout his club career, Robben scored 209 goals in 602 appearances.

Sneijder, 35, a pure Ajax Amsterdam product, announced his retirement from professional football this week.

A classic playmaker in the midfield, he played for Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, Turkey's Galatasaray and French team Nice while he was in Europe.

In the summer of 2007, Sneijder joined Spanish giants Real Madrid from Dutch club Ajax in his first experience playing for an international club.

He won the La Liga title with the Spanish club in 2008.

On Aug. 27, 2009, he moved to Italian club Inter, where he won one Serie A title and the Champions League trophy in 2010.

In the 2010 Champions League final, Sneijder helped Inter win the top-tier European trophy, making the first goal's assist against Germany's Bayern Munich with the Italian side winning the final 2-0.

Sneijder signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Istanbul club Galatasaray in January 2013 after leaving Inter. He lifted two Turkish Super Lig titles and three Turkish Cups with Galatasaray.

The Dutch attacking midfielder became Galatasaray fans' favorite, scoring 45 goals and making 44 assists in 175 appearances for the Lions.

In August 2017, Sneijder moved to Nice, appearing for this club for a half-season.

He lastly played for the Qatari club Al-Gharafa, scoring 16 goals in 27 matches.

He also made 134 appearances for the Netherlands and produced 30 goals for his country.

Sneijder set a record in this field and is still the most capped player for the Netherlands.

Along with Van Persie and Robben, Sneijder helped the Netherlands earn the silver medal in South Africa.

Throughout his club career, Sneijder scored 152 goals and made 142 assists in 573 games.

source: News Feed
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