Eintracht Frankfurt's defensive midfielder calls his playing career to an early end, citing a series of injuries and operations of late. Before his fitness faltered, Reinartz worked his way into the Germany setup.
Stefan Reinartz told coach Niko Kovac and sporting director Bruno Hübner about his retirement, with the three-time Germany international saying his "health problems" were the driving factor in his early exit.
"My last three years as a footballer were marked by very many injuries and therefore disappointments too," the tall holding midfielder, who moved to Frankfurt from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, said of his decision. "After these last three injuries within the space of six months I no longer have that 100-percent conviction that carrying on is the best path for me in the coming years."
Hamstring, hernia, stomach flu, and problems with his patella; this season alone, Reinartz was unavailable for 18 Frankfurt matches. But as the Rhinelander himself suggested, his injury problems stretch back to his time at Leverkusen as well. An eye socket injury cost him three months in his last year with Leverkusen, while before that, recurring problems with his heel kept him out of most of the 2013/14 season.
During these frequent injury layoffs, Reinartz said in his statement, "I was able to devote myself to other ideas and simultaneously I became all too aware, repeatedly, of football careers' finite natures."
Frankfurt's Bruno Hübner thanked Reinartz for the "open discussion," saying that "with this we have clarity early in our squad planning and can seek out a suitable alternative" to Reinartz. The sporting director wished him "all the best for his future career." This future, after retirement several years earlier than is typical for a professional footballer, remained unclear.
"This situation is surely unusual and a new experience for everybody involved," Reinartz's agent Dirk Hebel said. "I am convinced that we will solve this together."
A disruptive defensive midfielder, capable of deputizing in the back line if required, the lofty Reinartz played more than 100 Bundesliga matches for Leverkusen prior to his move to Frankfurt. He featured in 15 league matches this season - less than half of the 34 played - and wasn't available for Frankfurt's relegation playoff against second-divison Nuremberg this past week.
His career had started more brightly. On loan to Nuremberg, he won promotion to the Bundesliga - in turn winning him a shot at first team football back at Bayer Leverkusen. Reinartz played more than a dozen Champions League matches with the Pharmaceuticals and won three German caps during his seven seasons as a pro.
"I will definitely remain connected to football," Reinartz wrote in his statement, without going into details. "Eintracht will stay in my memory as a special club with extraordinary supporters. I'm delighted we avoided relegation and hope that Niko Kovac can continue successfully down the path he has started with the team."