Danish star Jon Dahl Tomasson retires

Denmark striker Jon Dahl Tomasson announced Tuesday he is retiring from football, ending a playing career that saw him score goals throughout Europe and become his country’s joint top scorer of all time.

Tomasson, who scored 52 goals in 112 internationals, said he was hanging up his boots after failing to regain full fitness following an injury he suffered while playing for Denmark at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

”It’s a sad day, because being a professional footballer is the most beautiful thing there is,” the 34-year-old said at a news conference.

The nomadic Dane began his playing career with Koge before transferring to Dutch club Heerenveen. He then spent a year with Newcastle before returning to the Netherlands to join Feyenoord.

He played for the Rotterdam club from 1998-2002, winning a Dutch league title and scoring in the final as Feyenoord won the 2002 UEFA Cup before transferring to AC Milan. He won the Champions League in 2003 with the Serie A team.

”The UEFA Cup with Feyenoord and winning the Champions League are my absolute highlights,” he said. ”I’ve always been driven and I think I got the maximum out of my career.”

Tomasson later played for Stuttgart and Villarreal before returning to Feyenoord, but the final years of his career were blighted by injuries.

He said that after working all last season trying to recover from a thigh injury he suffered in Denmark’s 3-1 loss to Japan, his doctor told him last week it would take at least another three months to regain full fitness.

”That was the final straw that made me decide to retire,” he said.

Tomasson scored Denmark’s only goal in that defeat to Japan in Rustenberg, in what turned out to be his last match. He retired from international football after the tournament.

He now plans to join the coaching staff of Excelsior, another Rotterdam club with close links to Feyenoord that also plays in the Dutch Eredivisie.