Former Switzerland striker Johan
Vonlanthen, the youngest player to score a goal at the European
Championships, has retired at the age of 26, he told the Swiss
daily Blick on Wednesday.
The Colombian-born player, whose career failed to take off
after he scored against France at Euro 2004 at the age of 18,
said he could not face the prospect of undergoing a knee
"Football does not mean the same to me now as it did
before," he said.
Vonlanthen's story is typical of many players from smaller
football countries who leave home at an early age, fail to
settle at new clubs and see their careers go off the rails.
Vonlanthen, son of a Colombian father and Swiss mother, was
raised at Young Boys Berne where he made his debut at the end
age of 16.
He left Young Boys in 2003 and joined PSV Eindhoven but he
had loan spells at Brescia, in Italy, and Breda before leaving
the Dutch club in 2006.
After being ruled out of the 2006 World Cup with a hamstring
injury, Vonlanthen joined Austrian side Salzburg for three years
before returning to Switzerland to play for FC Zurich.
Last year, he went back to the country of his birth to play
for Itagui in the top flight of Colombian football.
Vonlanthen made 40 appearances for Switzerland and scored
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