‘Finished in my head a long time ago’

‘Finished in my head a long time ago’
Eljero Elia during a game for Utrecht in 2020

NOS Soccer

Eljero Elia has officially ended his career as a footballer. “In my head I was done playing soccer for a long time. I just haven’t had time to announce it yet,” the 36-year-old Elia told ESPN.

Just last season, Elia made his comeback with ADO Den Haag. He tore his ankle ligaments after playing nine games in the first division. That ended the season and, as it turns out, his career as well.

‘Last years I didn’t like’

Elia made his premier league debut in 2005 on behalf of ADO, the club where he also went through much of its youth training. He subsequently played for FC Twente, Hamburger SV, Juventus, Feyenoord, Istanbul Başakşehir and FC Utrecht, among others.

“The last few years I didn’t like it anymore,” Elia said, referring especially to the season (2020/2021) in which he played at Utrecht. “There I only experienced non-fun moments.”

Elia duels with Sergio Ramos in the 2010 World Cup final

Elia: “My daughter was sick, corona, no desire to go to soccer, the distance to drive, traffic jam…. It’s the first time in my career that I played far from my home. Normally I always lived around the corner.”

At Domstad, Elia faced a quick trainer change. John van den Brom left early in the season for Genk, after which René Hake succeeded him. “Then comes a new trainer, who actually starts treating you like a little child. I don’t want to rant or anything, but that’s how it felt to me.”

Champion with Feyenoord

Elia played thirty international matches, including the lost 2010 World Cup final. He came into that game as a substitute for Dirk Kuijt. He was also one of the contributing players in Feyenoord’s championship year (2017).

Kayleigh Williams