The 36-year-old, who was capped 71 times for his country, bid farewell to football on Tuesday at a press conference in Seoul.
The emotional former Perugia, MSV Duisburg and FC Metz attacker said the 2002 World Cup where he scored a dramatic extra-time winner against Italy was the highlight of his career.
Ahn, who also played in Japan and China, said: "I've experienced many different football cultures in different countries, and those were really lucky times of my life.
"I reached the World Cup three times, and I enjoyed everything a football player could have enjoyed."
Ahn admitted he felt in good enough physical condition to play on and had been linked with K-League club Seongnam Ilhwa but said he wanted to prioritise his family after many years in the game.
"Over my 14-year career, my family has made a lot of sacrifices. I want to spend more time with them and just be a normal dad," he said.
"I have been working hard on my own and I felt I could still play. But on the other hand, I felt pressure that I had to live up to people's expectations. I wanted to come back to the K-League and it's been a very difficult month."
There had been talk in South Korea that the man known as 'The Lord of the Ring' could make a cameo in next month's friendly against Uzbekistan, however Ahn played down such speculation claiming the match was crucial preparation for the February 29 World Cup qualifier against Kuwait.
"This is a critical moment for Korean football, and I just felt it would be detrimental to the development of our football if I played before an important game," Ahn said.
"I don't think it's appropriate to put my personal matters ahead of the World Cup."
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