Vonlanthen announces retirement from football

The Switzerland attacker, who became the youngest-ever goalscorer in a European Championship, has decided to hang his boots up for good, despite being aged just 26
Johan Vonlanthen has confirmed that he has retired from football after struggling to face the prospect of undergoing knee surgery.

The Colombia-born forward had been tipped for stardom ever since his goal for Switzerland in the 3-1 defeat to France at Euro 2004, aged just 18 years and 137 days.

However, a combination of struggling to settle at various clubs throughout his career and sustaining a string of injuries at crucial points have led the 26-year-old to call it a day.

Vonlanthen explained his decision to Swiss newspaper Blick, before adding: "Football does not mean the same to me now as it did before."

A son of a Colombian father and Swiss mother, Vonlanthen was raised at Swiss club Young Boys, where he made his debut at the age of 16.

He left the Bern outfit in 2003 and joined PSV, where he was soon farmed out on loan to Brescia and NAC, before being ruled out of the World Cup in Germany three years later.

In spite of his disappointment in missing the tournament, Vonlanthen moved on again, this time to Red Bull Salzburg, but fell out of favour towards the end of his stint in the Austrian Bundesliga.

His loan return to Switzerland in the 2010-11 season was promising, scoring 10 goals in 27 league appearances for FC Zurich, but a deal was not made permanent.

Vonlanthen went back to his country of his birth Colombia to play for top-flight side Itagui, but has also chosen to retire on the grounds that he wants to bring his newborn son up in his homeland.

"I'm feeling very good right now, I'm happy," he told Uefa.com upon announcement of his retirement. "I want him to grow up in Colombia."

The skilful attacker earned 40 caps for Switzerland, scoring seven times.