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Players

Germany and Bremen stalwart Torsten Frings retires

Midfield general Torsten Frings has announced that he's hanging up his boots. The 36-year-old was struggling for fitness. Frings played 79 games for Germany, hundreds for Werder Bremen, and won a Bundesliga title.

Torsten Frings announced that he was calling a halt to his football swansong with Toronto FC, saying that a surprisingly lengthy period of recuperation made him decide that "the best thing for the team and club is for me to make way."

Frings was struggling with a hip injury, and said in his statement that the decision "was not easy for me to make."

Torsten Frings of Germany runs with the ball during the International Friendly match between Germany and Norway at the LTU Arena Duesseldorf on February 11, 2009 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo: Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Frings' last Germany outing left a bitter taste

The combative midfield enforcer had spent the majority of his career in the Bundesliga before crossing the Atlantic, playing for Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in an illustrious career.

Like every German national player of his generation, Frings never tasted international glory in his 79 caps. He came as close as any modern German, however, playing in both the 2002 World Cup final defeat to Brazil and the Euro 2008 final loss to Spain. That tournament in Austria and Switzerland effectively marked the end of Frings' international career, with Sami Khedira playing a "Frings-esque" role for the present-day German side.

Frings' last ever German international game was a 1-0 home friendly defeat against Norway in February 2009, shortly after coach Joachim Löw had angered the midfield veteran by publicly stating that he would not be going to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. By no means a prolific scorer, Frings still managed to net 10 for Germany.

Four German clubs, one home

After starting out with his local club Allemania Aachen as a teenager, Frings' first big break came with Werder Bremen. The bargain signing played one game for Bremen's reserves in 1997, scored, and was immediately fast-tracked into the senior side.

Captain Torsten Frings holds the German League Cup, celebrating with his Werder Bremen team mates.

His Bundesliga win might have come at Bayern, but Bremen was Frings' home for 11 full seasons

Frings played 162 games in his first senior stint at Bremen, before a big-money move to Dortmund beckoned. Two more successful seasons with Dortmund prompted Bayern Munich to poach the midfielder and his manic mane, with Felix Magath - a former Frings coach at Bremen - bringing the industrious player to Säbener Strasse for 9.25 million euros ($12 million).

Despite Frings winning his first and only Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich in 2005, his single season in Bavaria was not a happy one in a competitive squad. Immediately after winning the league and losing in the German Cup final, he returned "home" to Bremen - and stayed for another six seasons. In the course of his career, Frings lifted the German Cup on three occasions.