Marc Overmars retires due to knee problems

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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal and Dutch national winger Marc Overmars is to retire because of knee problems, he said yesterday.

Overmars, 31, was released by FC Barcelona at the end of last season despite having a year remaining on his contract. He played as a substitute in several games for the Dutch national team at the European Championships this summer.

"My future as a footballer ends today," he said at a news conference in Barcelona. "My knee has caused me lots of problems and I can no longer continue to play at the level that I want."

According to a report on Dutch NOS news, Overmars has "almost no cartilage remaining" in his right knee, which has been repeatedly injured.

Overmars has been a fixture on the Dutch national team for the past decade, appearing 86 times and scoring 17 goals.

Known for dazzling speed, he was part of the 1995 Ajax team that won the Champions League title and was later transferred to Arsenal, where he won both the league championship and FA cup in 1998.

He finished his career with Barcelona, where knee pain prevented him from playing any complete games in his final seasons, but he remained a formidable substitute.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said that the team is "enormously grateful" for Overmars' contributions and called his retirement a "dignified act."