Benni McCarthy calls it quits

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates striker and former Bafana Bafana stalwart Benni McCarthy announced his retirement from football on Thursday.

McCarthy, South Africa's most successful player of the modern era, released a statement via his management company, confirming he would be hanging up his boots.

GALLERY: Benni McCarthy in pictures

“I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winners' medals in the Uefa Champions League and World Club Cup," McCarthy said.

McCarthy began his professional career at now defunct Seven Stars in Cape Town, before the 36-year-old attacker went on to play in Holland for Ajax Amsterdam, Spain (Celta Vigo), Portugal (FC Porto) and England (Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United). He returned to South Africa for a final stint with the Buccaneers.

“I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals," he said.

"Two Soccer World Cup finals - in France and Korea/Japan - an Olympic Games and an under-20 World Cup will be memories that live in my heart forever.

“And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates (2011/12), was the type of finale that only dreams are made of."

McCarthy enjoyed his greatest success while at Porto, where he played under the leadership of recently re-appointed Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, scoring 34 goals in more than 70 appearances, including a Champions League title in 2004.

"It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I’ve been privileged to have played under many great coaches, including the very best... Jose Mourinho," McCarthy said.

His international career saw him set a new South African goal-scoring record, netting 31 goals in 80 appearances for Bafana.

McCarthy said while his playing days were over, he aimed to qualify as a coach, and hoped to remain within the game for years to come.

"I have played the game and I love the game. It’s in my blood.

"For the next chapter, I’d like to concentrate on getting my coaching badges and at the same time, be part of a club where I can get practical experience.

"I’d also like to do some television work because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well.”

A list of all of Benni’s accolades:


1997/98: Dutch League & Cup winner (Ajax)
1998/99: Dutch Cup winner. Joint top goal scorer at Ajax Amsterdam
?1999/00: Top scorer at Celta Vigo, they finish in sixth place in La Liga
2000/01: Spanish Cup runner-up. (Celta Vigo)
?2002/03: Finished in fourth position in La Liga (Celta Vigo)
2003/04: Champions League winner (Porto)                                 
              UEFA Super Cup runner-up
              Portuguese League winner                                  
              Portuguese Super Cup winner                                 
              Portuguese Cup runner-up                                  
              Top goal scorer in the Portuguese League          
2004/05: Portuguese League runner-up                                 
              Portuguese Super Cup winner                                 
              Intercontinental winner.                                 
              UEFA Super Cup runner-up
2005/06: Portuguese League & Cup winner
?2006/07: Second top goal scorer in English Premiership                                  
              FA Cup semi-finalist
2011/12: ABSA PSL winner
              MTN 8 winner
              Telkom Cup winner


1997: Top Scorer and Player of the Tournament at African U-20 Youth Championships                    
         Made his debut for senior South African team in June v Netherlands (age 19)
         First man to represent SA at three age groups in one year (U20, U23 & Bafana)
         Represented South Africa at U-20 World Youth Cup finals in Malaysia
1998: Joint top scorer at the AFCON finals & Player of the Tournament
         1998 World Cup finals in France
         First player to score in a World Cup finals for SA
         Became the first footballer to make the front cover of Time magazine  
2002: African Cup of Nations finals in Mali
         Featured in the World Cup finals in Korea. Played three, scored one
2004: Top 5 finalist for African Footballer of the Year
         Winner – African Goal of the Year.
2006: Featured in African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt
?2008: Became the highest goal scorer in the history of SA football
2012: Won the last of his South African caps s Brazil, aged 34

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Would you be keen to see the Springboks join the Six Nations?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! The Northern Hemisphere is the future.
53% - 5117 votes
No! The Rugby Championship is still the pinnacle.
47% - 4504 votes