Former Tottenham Hotspur and Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele has confirmed he will hang up his boots at the age of 34, and tributes have poured in from fans and his former teams.
“I still have a year on my contract left. But I can already share I will stop my career after this year is finished,” Dembele wrote on Instagram.
Dembele, who has been playing with Guangzhou City in China since leaving Tottenham in 2019, began his career with Germinal Beerschot before moving to Eredivisie side Willem II while still a teenager.
He impressed so much in his year with Willem II that he was promptly snapped up by AZ Alkmaar, who were coached by Louis van Gaal at the time. He would go on to make over 150 appearances for AZ in the next four years, winning the Eredivisie in 2009 before heading to England.
After shining in the Premier League for Fulham, who signed him for five million pounds in 2010, Spurs paid his 15 million pound release clause two years later as they viewed him as a replacement for Luka Modric, who had just left for Real Madrid.
Dembele made his Belgium debut in 2006 and played 82 games for his country, featuring at two World Cups and Euro 2016. The high point of his international career was winning in the 2018 World Cup third-place playoff game against England.
“Congratulations on an incredible career, Mousa. Enjoy your retirement,” Tottenham said on Twitter.
He retired from international football in March 2019.