Jermain Defoe has announced his immediate retirement from professional football, with the former England international looking forward to the next phase of his career.
Defoe, who was in his second tenure at Sunderland, scored 305 goals in 764 professional club games; the former England striker commenced his career with West Ham and rose to fame with Tottenham; Defoe also appeared for Rangers, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, and Toronto FC.
Defoe, a former West Ham and Tottenham striker, had been playing for Sunderland since January, when he returned to the club wherein he served two seasons between 2015 and 2017. His contract with the club was set to expire at the end of the season.
Before returning to Sunderland, Defoe spent the previous season at Rangers, where he netted 32 goals in 74 games and helped the club win the Scottish Premiership.
Defoe, who was born in Beckton, played youth football with prominent east London club Senrab before signing professional terms with West Ham in 1999 when he was 16 years old. A year later, he earned his first-team debut.
The striker concluded the 2001/02 season as West Ham’s leading goalscorer, scoring 41 goals in 105 games for the club, but despite another double-digit goal output the following season, he was unable to prevent the Hammers from relegation.
Defoe submitted a transfer request just under 24 hours after West Ham was relegated, but he stayed with the club until joining Tottenham.
He earned his England debut just a few months following joining Spurs and went on to win the first of his 57 caps.
Defoe spent three and a half seasons with Tottenham before actually joining Portsmouth in January 2008, where he scored 17 goals in 36 games. He returned to Spurs a year later, signing for Harry Redknapp, his former West Ham manager.
Defoe made 363 appearances for Tottenham throughout the two periods, tallying 143 goals, before leaving to Toronto FC in early 2014. However, Defoe only stayed with the MLS team for 11 months before returning to The UK to join Sunderland. After two and a half seasons on Wearside, he went to Bournemouth in 2017 before making a permanent transfer to Rangers in 2019.
He confirmed his retirement through his social media handles.
— Jermain Defoe OBE (@IAmJermainDefoe) March 24, 2022