Northern Ireland legend David Healy has announced his retirement from football.
Healy confirmed he was calling time on his stellar career “with immediate effect”.
Speculation had been mounting over the 34-year-old’s future since he was released by Bury back in May.
In an official statement released on Monday night, Healy admitted the time had arrived to hang up his boots.
“I am today announcing my immediate retirement as a player from professional football,” Healy said.
“After a playing career, of some 18 years, the point has come for me to move on to a new challenge.
“Over half my life has been dedicated to the game that I love and although you have to get on by your own efforts and making the best of your own abilities, my career would not have been anything like it has, without the help and support of so many people.”
Healy will be remembered most for his heroic exploits with Northern Ireland.
The former Manchester United, Leeds United and Rangers striker bagged 36 goals in 95 internationals to become his country’s record goalscorer.
He scored twice on his debut against Luxembourg in 2000, and recorded 13 goals during the 2008 Euro qualifying campaign – a Uefa record.
Often the talisman for Northern Ireland, Healy enjoyed a number of memorable nights at Windsor Park.
He scored the winner in a 1-0 win over old rivals England in 2005, while one year later he bagged a sublime hat-trick in a 3-2 victory against Spain in a Euro qualifier.
His last goal came against Azerbaijan just over 12 months ago in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Windsor.