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Stam calls it quits on his career !!!!

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AMSTERDAM — Ajax defender Jaap Stam is expected to announce his immediate retirement Monday, ending a career that included three English Premier League championships and a Champions League title with Manchester United.

Ajax would not confirm or deny Stam's decision, but said the 35-year-old defender had scheduled a news conference for later Monday.

Stam came to prominence with PSV Eindhoven, where he played from 1996 to 1998, catching the eye of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He transferred to United in 1998, the same year he played in the Dutch national team that reached the semifinals of the World Cup in France.

Stam was a key player at Old Trafford in the dominant teams that won the Premier League three times between 1998 and 2001 and the Champions League in 1999, the same year the Red Devils also won the FA Cup for a historic treble.

However, Stam was sold to Lazio in 2001, reportedly after falling out with Ferguson. He played for the Rome club until 2004, when he moved to AC Milan.

While Stam was at Lazio, he tested positive for nandrolone in 2001 and was banned for five months.

Stam moved to Ajax in 2006, but has struggled with injuries for much of his time in Amsterdam and has been frustrated by the club's European performances — Ajax failed to reach the Champions League group stage the last two seasons.

Stam was capped 67 times by the Netherlands and scored three goals. As well as making the 1998 World Cup semifinal, he was in the Dutch team that reached the last four at Euro 2000 and missed a penalty during the shootout that sent Italy into the final after the match ended 0-0. Stam again reached the semifinals at Euro 2004 before retiring from international soccer.
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Jaap Stam held a conference this afternoon to announce his immediate retirement from football at the age of 35 despite his contract with AFC Ajax running until the end of the season. "The motivation and drive were no longer there," said the imposing central defender.

'Physical problems'
Stam continued: "I've been more preoccupied with myself than opponents lately, and then there are the physical problems to add to that. I noticed the physical side of things less at the end of last season but they were soon back this season. I wanted to quit then but was convinced to carry on. Now I can't continue. I'm not a player who can play at 50 per cent. I've never done that. I'm disappointed in myself that I can no longer motivate myself."

'Beautiful club'
Stam joined Ajax in summer 2006 with the intention of ending a successful career on home soil in the Netherlands next summer. He made 25 Eredivisie appearances last term, and captained the Amsterdam club to Dutch Cup glory, but has featured in only six league games this season, his final one seeing him go off at half-time in the goalless draw with NEC Nijmegen on 20 October.. Stam said: "I hope the Ajax fans understand. Ajax is the most beautiful club in the Netherlands to me. The fans have always been good to me here. I'm satisfied with how my career has gone, although obviously I would have wanted to end it another way."

European glory
Stam played for FC Zwolle, SC Cambuur Leeuwarden and Willem II before being snapped up by PSV Eindhoven in 1995/96. He joined Manchester United FC for €16.7m in 1998 and played in all 990 minutes of United's UEFA Champions League campaign as they won an unprecedented treble the following year. He was surprisingly sold to S.S. Lazio for €26.8m in August 2001 and next moved to AC Milan for €10.5m in summer 2004.

International career
He was an integral part of the Netherlands sides which reached the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA EURO 2000™ - losing on penalties on each occasion - and the 2004 UEFA European Championship, after which he retired from international football with 67 caps and three goals.

I can understand the bold highlighted section, after you leave United, the only way is DOWN!!!
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