Former Liverpool and Holland international Dirk Kuyt has decided to hang his boots and retire from football today at age 36, just four days after leading his boyhood club Feyenoord to winning the Eredivisie title, a trophy they have lost won in 1999.
Kuyt, who will be fondly be remembered by Liverpool fans as “Mr Duracell”, as he was called that moniker by then manager Rafael Benitez because of the Dutchman’s impressive work rate, has a career spanning 19 years.
“Throughout my career, I have always followed my heart when taking decisions and that goes for this one, too. To me, this feels like the right time to retire,” the Dutch striker was quoted as saying.
Kuyt started his footballing career with Dutch side Utrecht in 1999, where he quickly established miself as a solid striker for the first-team. In his first season at the club, Kuyt had already managed to clock in 30 appearances across all competitions, scoring six goals along the way. From that moment on, it was clear that Kuyt was destined for the big leagues.
And indeed he was. After five seasons with Utrecht, which saw Kuyt score a total 57 goals in 173 appearances for the club – and winning the Dutch Cup along the way – he was signed by Feyenoord. At his new club, Kuyt would become an instant fan favourite. He was almost an ever-present player in the squad because of his stamina and eye for goal. In his three seasons with Feyenoord, Kuyt appeared in a total 132 matches, scoring an impressive 83 goals.
It was then that the Premier League came calling. When Liverpool signed Kuyt back in 2006, many were wary of trusting the striker from the Netherlands. But Kuyt quickly won them over by his early performances, with pundits raving about him “having the looks of a cult hero”. His gesture of applauding the fans after every game also won him the hearts of Liverpool fans.
Despite his inability to lead Liverpool to a Premier League title win, he has definitely earned the trust of the club’s supporters. Kuyt was always there to lead the club to victory, especially against fiercest rivals Manchester United, whom the striker scored a famous hat-trick against back in March 2011.
In total, Kuyt would score 71 goals for the Anfield outfit in a span of 286 appearances.
Kuyt would go on to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce in 2012. There, he would continue his fine run as a footballer and score 37 goals across 130 appearances spread over three seasons.
With his contract with Fenerbahce at an end, he decided to respond to his boyhood club’s call and return to Feyenoord. While his first season back in Holland was considered a hit-and-miss, his second season was simply a masterclass. The 36-year-old scored a total 15 goals over 38 matches for the club, including an empathic hat-trick in their match against Heracles Almelo in the final day of the season. Kuyt’s singularly stellar performance led Feyenoord to a 3-1 win, placing them at 84 points, two points clear of nearest rivals Ajax.
The win would secure Feyenoord the Eredivisie title, a trophy they have not won for nearly two decades.
Feyenoord technical director Michael van Geel had this to say about Kuyt: “We are unbelievably grateful to Dirk for what he has done over the past two years. With his attitude, professionalism and passion he has added a lot, in the locker room, on the field and beyond.”