Eintracht Frankfurt have announced the departure of defender Martin Hinteregger and his retirement from professional football at the age of 29.
In an official statement on the club’s website, the defender admitted he had previously thought about retirement: “Last autumn I’d already started to think about retiring at the end of the season. I was in a difficult period on the pitch: my performances were shaky. The wins didn’t feel as good anymore, and every defeat hurt twice as much.
“My improvement in the spring and our joint successes in the Europa League made me even more motivated to bow out with a great sporting success. That’s why I enjoyed the Europa League victory so much, because I already knew it would be my last big victory celebration with the fantastic fans in this city, which has become my second home.”
A few months ago, SGE sporting director Markus Krösche told Hinteregger that he should consider looking for a new club as he no longer had a career at Frankfurt. This is despite his contract running until 2024.
At the time of this bombshell, the defender explained: “A lot has gone wrong this year. I was told in late autumn and between the quarter-finals against Barcelona that I should leave in the summer.”
Hinteregger has also not been without controversy in his personal life over the past few months. He caused a storm when a business relationship between him and right-wing extremist Heinrich Sickl from the FPÖ party was discovered. The Austrian international has since apologised, pleaded ignorance, and has stopped all links with the politician.
“In the past few weeks, a number of issues have arisen around my ‘Hinti Cup’, which I have run with passion and the best intentions, the implications of which have only become clear to me in retrospect,” added Hinteregger. “Some emotional and perhaps ill-advised words from me have caused irritation and I would like to apologise for that.
“I regret that very much. To make it clear once again: I condemn right-wing, intolerant and inhuman ideas in the strongest possible terms. Those who know me know that. For now, I need to get some distance and readjust my life. I’m grateful that Eintracht have given me the opportunity to take this step now.”
Hinteregger had been linked to other clubs this summer including Hertha Berlin but it appears he’s walking away from the game completely.