Legendary Germany women's striker Birgit Prinz announces retirement with immediate effect

The three-time World Player of the Year has hung up her boots after an illustrious career which has seen her win two World Cups with the national team among many other honours
Germany striker Birgit Prinz has announced that she has retired from football with immediate effect.

The 33-year-old was contemplating her future after her country's surprise elimination in the women's World Cup earlier this summer at the hands of eventual winners Japan.

The much-decorated striker failed to hit top form in the tournament, making her question her future in the game. She even publicly lamented her own displays during the competition after two disappointing performances against Canada and Nigeria. In the following game against France, she was dropped from the starting XI.

''For me, the moment has come to end my active career as a footballer after 25 years,'' Prinz told Uefa.com.

''This is no easy decision for me, as playing football has always been a huge passion of mine.

"But it now feels like the right moment.''

Prinz is Germany's most capped international with 214 appearances to her name, scoring 128 goals in the process.

She began playing for the national side back in 1994, making her debut at the tender age of 16.

Winning the Fifa World Player of the Year award in 2003, 2004 and 2005, she has also finished runner-up for the trophy on four occasions.

Prinz is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Women's World Cup with 14 strikes and she has been equally prolific for her clubs. She scored 244 goals in 247 appearances for FFC Frankfurt during two different spells at the club. Prinz also managed another 12 goals in 15 games for Carolina Courage during a short period playing in the United States of America.