Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to retire after this season
Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will retire after this season, Ajax announced on Thursday. He will say goodbye to the Ajax supporters during the home game against FC Utrecht on Sunday.
Stekelenburg made his professional debut for Ajax in 2002. Over nine seasons, he played 311 matches for the Amsterdam club, winning five national titles, four KNVB cups, and four Johan Cruijff Shields.
Stekelenburg also played for AS Roma, Fulham, Southampton, and Everton between 2011 to 2020. He came back to Ajax in 2020 to finish his career.
The Harleem-born goalkeeper made his debut with the Dutch national team in 2004, playing a total of 63 international matches. Initially serving as the understudy to Edwin van der Sar at the World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008, he later became the first goalkeeper, leading his team to the World Cup final in 2010 lost against Spain in extra-time.
Stekelenburg only conceded six goals during the 2010 World Cup tournament, two of them being penalties. Despite making a number of saves in the final, the Dutch national team came out on the losing end after he conceded the match's only goal in the 116th minute.
Stekelenburg was the third goalkeeper at Ajax this season. He did not play a single minute. He also saw limited playing time last season, largely because he suffered a serious hip injury.