FRANKFURT (AP) – Former Germany captain Birgit Prinz retired from women's football Friday, ending a storied career that included two World Cup and five European titles.
The 33-year-old Prinz had already quit the national team after Germany was ousted from this year's Women's World Cup by Japan in the quarterfinals.
''The time has come for me to end my career as an active football player after 25 years,'' said Prinz, who had been under contract with FFC Frankfurt since 2002. ''This is not an easy decision for me, because playing football was always a big passion of mine. But now feels like the right moment.''
Prinz became the symbol of German women's football by making 214 international appearances, scoring 128 goals and driving the team to World Cup wins in 2003 and '07. Similar to United States star Mia Hamm, Prinz defined the women's game in a country where the sport had long been derided as little more than a joke.
However, Prinz failed to perform during this year's tournament in Germany and was benched early on, leading to speculation she would quit the sport.
The three-time World Player of the Year - in 2003, '04 and '05 - lost her title to Brazil star Marta. Prinz and Marta are tied for most World Cup goals with 14 each.