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The former Germany star has decided to hang up his boots after 18 years as a professional.

Toronto FC captain Torsten Frings announced his retirement from the game on Tuesday, citing concerns stemming from a hip injury that required surgery last season.

The 36-year-old defender, who signed for Toronto as Designated Player in June 2011, had left Toronto's preseason camp in Florida earlier this month.

“During preseason we discovered that my recovery would take longer than expected. I always want to do what’s best for the team and that is why I have decided to step away,” said Frings. “I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and playing for Toronto FC. I wish the club all the best this season and hopefully they can continue to embrace the winning spirit that I brought to the team.”

The German defender signed with Toronto in the summer of 2011 and made 46 appearances for the team. He appeared in 20 matches last season but suffered a groin injury during the team’s run in the CONCACAF Champions League. His final game with the team was on Aug. 22.

“Everyone is sorry that Torsten will be unable to lead our team this year but the injury he had often requires a lengthy period of rehab, and that is the case here,” Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne said in a statement. “We appreciate Torsten’s commitment to Toronto FC and are pleased he has agreed to work with us, particularly in Europe, on future projects. We part as the best of friends and wish him nothing but the best.”

Frings' club career spanned 18 seasons, with most of that time spent in the German Bundesliga with Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. He also earned 79 caps with Germany and played in two World Cups, helping his country to a place in the final of the 2002 tournament. He also played on the German team that finished second at the 2008 Euros.

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