Johan Vonlanthen, the youngest-ever goalscorer at a UEFA European Championship, has retired at the age of 26.
Vonlanthen's defining moment came at UEFA EURO 2004, in Switzerland's final group game against France on 21 June. The Swiss went on to lose 3-1 but, aged just 18 years and 137 days, Vonlanthen had made history and stolen a record set by England's Wayne Rooney just four days earlier – against the Swiss.
There were understandably high hopes for Vonlanthen but less than eight years later his career is over. A Colombian-Swiss dual citizen, Vonlathen joined Itagüí Fútbol Club in 2011 but his contract was terminated at the turn of the year. Without a club since then, he has remained in the country of his birth. "I'm feeling very good right now, I'm happy," he said on announcing his retirement, explaining the recent birth of his son was a factor in his decision. "I want him to grow up in Colombia," he said.
It brings down the curtain on a career which took an unexpected path. Vonlanthen struggled to establish himself at club level, starting out at BSC Young Boys before taking in spells at sides such as PSV Eindhoven and NAC Breda in the Netherlands, Italy's Brescia Calcio and FC Salzburg in Austria. He made a short return to Switzerland with FC Zürich in 2009/10.
Vonlanthen made 40 appearances for his country and scored seven goals. He missed out on the 2006 FIFA World Cup, was a peripheral figure at UEFA EURO 2008 in Switzerland and was not called up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That goal in Coimbra eight years ago will forever be a career highlight.
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