The 2014 World Cup champion Sami Khedira will retire after the last Bundesliga matchday on Saturday, the Hertha Berlin player said.
“The moment I realised I would not be able to play anymore was by far the most bitter moment of my career,” the midfielder told a news conference on Wednesday.
“The pain is very, very big. It’s a pretty tough step, but the right one, 15 years of professional football have left their mark,” he added.
Khedira has played 77 games for the German national team and was part of the squad which secured the World Cup title in Brazil in 2014. He scored a goal during the iconic 7-1 semi-final against the hosts, reports DPA.
At club level, the midfielder won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2014 and the Italian Serie A title five times with Juventus. He also clinched the Bundesliga title in 2007 with VfB Stuttgart.
Since January, Khedira has been playing for Hertha and he will play his final professional game at Hoffenheim.
His career has suffered repeated setbacks during the past few years due to several injuries. He was almost unable to travel to the World Cup in Brazil due to an injury, as he had torn a cruciate ligament seven months before the tournament.
Hertha coach Pal Dardai praised the player, even though “sportingly, he couldn’t help much.”
“But when it comes to sorting out many things in the dressing room, not only his name was world class. It was a great help,” Dardai said.
Khedira said he was “very proud” of what Hertha achieved as a team. The club escaped relegation last weekend after a draw with Cologne.
The player left his future open saying, “I won’t have a real home. Will do a lot of things I couldn’t do as an active athlete.”