Former Rangers striker Jermain Defoe has announced his retirement from football.
The 39-year-old said that it was “really tough” to make the decision after 17 years in the game.
Defoe signed for Sunderland last month on a deal until the end of the season after leaving Rangers.
But in a statement on Thursday, he said he feels it is the “right time to bow out”.
It brings to an end a career in which the striker also played for Tottenham, West Ham, Portsmouth, Toronto, and Bournemouth.
He also collected 57 caps for England between 2004 and 2017, scoring 20 goals for his country.
Defoe became a fan favourite at Ibrox during his time at Rangers after being signed by Steven Gerrard in 2019.
He joined alongside Steven Davis, initially on a loan deal from Bournemouth, before signing permanently.
Under the management of Gerrard, Defoe played a part in Rangers lifting the Scottish Premiership title last season.
And he scored memorable goals against Celtic and Aberdeen at Ibrox at the end of the 2020/2021 campaign.
“After 22 years in the game, I have decided to retire from professional football,” Defoe said in his statement.
“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 remain 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.”
He continued: “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.”