News
Premier League

Former Tottenham & England striker Defoe retires at 39 with 162 Premier League goals to his name

10:59 AM GMT 24/03/2022
Jermain Defoe Tottenham Premier League 2014
The 39-year-old forward had most recently been taking in a second stint at Sunderland, but the time has come for him to hang up his boots

Former Tottenham, West Ham and England striker Jermain Defoe has announced his retirement at the age of 39, with a standing as a Premier League legend safely secured by a prolific frontman.

A man that earned 57 caps for his country, while finding the target on 20 occasions for the Three Lions, had most recently been taking in a second stint at Sunderland.

He has, however, decided that the time has come to hang up his boots, with one of the most reliable finishers of the modern era having scored 162 Premier League goals.

Watch Defoe’s best goals for Spurs

What has been said?

In a statement released on Twitter, Defoe has said of calling time on his career: “After 22 years in the game, I have decided to retire from professional football. It's been a really tough decision, and one I have discussed with my family and those closest to me.

“I made my professional debut at 17 years old in 1999, and I feel now is the right time to bow out. I have had an incredible journey, and have met some amazing people in the game.

“Football will always be in my blood, and it gives me great pride and satisfaction to look back on the blessed career that I've had. I now look forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family before moving forward on this next chapter in my career.

“Thank you to all the fans from each club I've played for. The love I have received and endured throughout my career will never be forgotten, and I will always have a special bond with you all.

“Thank you also to my amazing team-mates, coaches and staff for playing such an integral part in my career.

“Lastly, I want to say thank you to my mum. You gave me a ball at two years old and you made me believe my dream could happen. All that I am is because of you, and I owe everything to you and God.”

Defoe’s career

Defoe took in 731 career appearances at club level, with 286 goals recorded.

He is probably best remembered for his time in north London, with two productive stints at Tottenham delivering 143 goals.

A spell at Portsmouth was sandwiched between his days with Spurs, and a mid-season move to the south coast meant that he was cup tied for their successful FA Cup campaign in 2008.

Defoe had started out on the books at West Ham, having graduated out of a famed academy system there, and made his senior England debut shortly after moving from east to north London in February 2004.

He was left out of World Cup squads in 2006 and 2014, but graced the 2010 event and made the cut for Euro 2012.

Relegation was suffered out of the Premier League with Sunderland in 2017, leading to a brief spell being taken in at Bournemouth before linking up with ex-England team-mate Steven Gerrard at Rangers.

Defoe savoured Scottish Premiership title glory during his time at Ibrox and returned to the Stadium of Light in January on a short-term contract that has now been brought to a close.

Defoe also spent time in MLS with Toronto FC in 2014, hitting the net 14 times for them, and bows out with a ninth-place standing taken up on the Premier League’s all-time top scorer list.

Further reading