Dirk Kuyt has called time on career when he become respected and adored at every club he played, even though he was never the biggest star
After nineteen seasons, Dirk Kuyt has decided to end an illustrious playing career. Kuyt has given fans so many memorable moments wearing the shirt of Feyenoord, Liverpool, Fenerbahçe and FC Utrecht. Everywhere Kuyt played, he became a footballer loved by supporters due to his tireless work-rate and his guarantee to deliver in big games.
At 36-years-of-age, the Dutchman can look back on a career that many can only dream of, having picked up 803 club appearances as well as 104 outings for his country.
And although the forward is now an indispensable figure in Dutch football, it wasn’t until later on his career that Kuyt’s talent came to the surface. It was FC Utrecht who picked up Kuyt, at the time already 18-years-old, from amateur club Quick Boys. At Utrecht, Kuyt started slowly and needed some time to become accustomed to the level of the Eredivisie.
In his fifth season for Utrecht, Kuyt enjoyed his breakthrough year, scoring 23 goals and guiding his side to the Dutch Cup. Feyenoord had taken notice of this emerging footballer and for a modest fee of €1M, The Rotterdammers secured his services. At Feyenoord, Kuyt continued to exploit his goal-scoring abilities by finding the back of the net 81 times in 120 games for the club.
Having been Feyenoord’s stand-out player between 2003 and 2006, big European clubs started to express their interest in Kuyt. Liverpool eventually won the battle and signed Kuyt for €18M. For Liverpool, Kuyt never reached the prolific goal-scoring heights as he did for Feyenoord, which was mainly down to his position. With Fernando Torres as the main man, Kuyt was often used as a right winger.
In this position, Kuyt did make himself a fan favorite. In attack, he proved to be a versatile and fearless player, but what really made Kuyt such an adored footballer was his continuing chasing down of the ball. He never stopped running. He was nicknamed the “Working Class Hero”, which perfectly encapsulates the kind of player Kuyt was.
Next to his work off the ball, a trait Kuyt also was loved for is his big-game mentality. Goals in the Champions League vs. Inter Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea. Not to forget the goal in the 2007 Champions League final against AC Milan. But also a hat trick against arch rivals Manchester United and the numerous successful strikes versus neighbors Everton. Whenever there was a big game, you know you could count on Kuyt to rise to the occasion.
Absolute quality and must-watch from Dirk Kuyt – ONCE A RED – ALWAYS A RED ?
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) May 18, 2017
Just like he did last weekend in his last game for Feyenoord and with the knowledge we have now, the last game of his career. With De Kuip rocking and full of anxiety, Kuyt came up with a hat trick to single-handedly win Feyenoord the title. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
In 2012, after six years at Anfield, Kuyt left Liverpool as a club legend. He signed for Turkish heavyweights Fenerbahçe, where he won the league title and the Turkish cup before returning to his beloved Feyenoord in 2015. In Rotterdam, he has retired in the best possible way by winning the league title. Kuyt has now hinted that he’ll go into management.
One thing is for sure; his dedication to his profession won’t be a problem and will give the right example for the younger players. Kuyt is a perfect professional and although not the most gifted, he is undoubtedly one of most appreciated footballers Holland has ever produced. The Working Class Hero, Dirk Kuyt.