South Africa legend McCarthy retires
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South Africa's record goalscorer Benni McCarthy has announced his retirement from professional football.

The 35-year-old walks away from the game having won domestic league titles with three different teams - Ajax, Porto and Orlando Pirates - and remains the only South African to have won the UEFA Champions League, with Porto in 2004.

Two soccer World Cups, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and an U-20 World Cup will be memories that live in my heart forever.
Benni McCarthy

In addition to spells in the Netherlands, Portugal and his homeland, McCarthy also represented teams in Spain (Celta Vigo) and England (Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United) while he scored 31 international goals in 80 appearances for Bafana Bafana.

In a statement, he said today: "I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winner's medals in the Champions League and World Club Cup - the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football.

"I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two soccer World Cups, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and an U-20 World Cup will be memories that live in my heart forever.

"And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.

"It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I've been privileged to have played under many great coaches, including the very best, Jose Mourinho.

"Football has been good to me - it has provided special moments and in the process, has enabled me to have been in a position to have improved the lives of my family members. For that, I am most grateful."