March 24, 2022 4.30 pm

Legendary striker Jermain Defoe retires from football with Lincoln City his final opponent

His final game was right here in Lincoln

One of the Premier League’s greatest ever goalscorers, Jermain Defoe OBE, has announced his retirement from football just five days after gracing the LNER Stadium turf against Lincoln City in his final match.

Defoe, 39, made over 600 career appearances in his club career, scoring more than 200 goals in that time – 163 of which came at the highest level of English football, the Premier League.

He has also been capped 57 times by England, scoring 20 goals, including a famous winner against Slovenia at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Defoe started the game at the LNER Stadium as a substitute, coming on with 15 minutes to go. | Photo: Richard Davies, Chud Photography / Lincoln City FC

He joined Sunderland in League One in January 2022 on a short-term contract, but has decided to call time on his career after just seven appearances for the Black Cats.

The striker announced his retirement on social media, thanking fans, family, friends, the clubs he played for and God for his career.

His final career appearance came off the bench at the LNER Stadium on Saturday, March 19, coming on with around 15 minutes to go in Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Lincoln City.

The iconic centre forward couldn’t add to his phenomenal goal tally against the Imps, but his career is one that will be celebrated for years to come given his successes for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, as well as for his country.

Defoe has more than 200 career goals, but couldn’t find the net against the Imps. | Photo: Richard Davies, Chud Photography / Lincoln City FC

Defoe earned an OBE in 2018 for services to football and his Jermain Defoe Foundation, as he won the hearts of the nation with his connection to terminally ill six-year-old boy Bradley Lowery.

Bradley was a young Sunderland fan who tragically died from cancer, but in the final weeks and months of his life Jermain made every possible effort to spend time with him, bringing him out as a mascot for games and even sitting by his hospital bed.

Jermain described Bradley as his “best friend” and was propelled to national treasure status as he developed his friendship with a boy whose story impacted everyone in the football world.