From the time I could walk, I dreamed of playing football. But even in my wildest dreams I never imagined the amazing journey the sport would set me on. I am flooded with gratitude to have been born with a talent for the most beautiful game in the universe, an ability that placed me in the company of legends whom I had the privilege to play alongside and against in some of the most breathtaking sacred temples of football including Amsterdam Arena, the Volksparkstadion, White Hart Lane and Bernabeu. The people, places, clubs, tournaments, accolades, awards, and to top it all, playing for my country, are constant reminders of how football has provided for me in every possible way. Most precious is the fact that playing the game I love with all my heart gifted me lifelong friendships with fellow players and other men and women connected to football, and with fans who’ve supported me from my earliest days at Ajax as a kid.You’re all just incredible!25 years of playing football at the highest level filled my life with so many stirring, unforgettable memories. I’m so fortunate that the thrill and joy of playing football never abandoned me despite the numerous injuries that have littered my career (including the one that led to my decision to retire). If I had my way, I’d be a pro-football-playing grandpa, but my body had a different plan. But such is life sometimes, and I have absolutely no reason or need for regret.As the next chapter kicks in, I look forward to new interests to discover, explore, and pursue. This next phase of my life will also allow me to invest more time in my favorite other passion alongside football - the people that matter most in my life. But despite having hung up my boots for good, football will undoubtedly play a part in what I do next. So I hope you’ll stick around to see what I’m up to in my life after football.Love,Rafa
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