- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Dirk Kuyt, the veteran Feyenoord captain who led his team to its first Dutch league title in 18 years, is retiring.

The 36-year-old Kuyt, who returned to Rotterdam two years ago saying he wanted to win the league, told coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst of his decision early Wednesday.

The announcement came just three days after Kuyt, who had not been a regular starter for Feyenoord in the last months of the season, scored a hat trick in his team’s 3-1 win over Heracles Almelo to win the title in the final game of the season.

After that storybook ending, not even the prospect of Champions League soccer next season was enough to entice Kuyt into trying to add another year to his long playing career.

Kuyt’s 19 seasons as a professional player started at Utrecht before going to Feyenoord. He then moved to Liverpool, playing six seasons at Anfield before transferring to Fenerbahce and finally back to Feyenoord.

Kuyt also played 104 internationals for the Netherlands, including the World Cup final in 2010, when the Netherlands lost to Spain in extra time.

“We are unbelievably grateful to Dirk for what he has meant to Feyenoord for the last two years,” technical director Martin van Geel said. “With his attitude, professionalism and passion, he has added a huge amount in the changing room, on the field and off it.”

The club said Kuyt would remain with Feyenoord in another role.

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