Star Striker Andres Oper Retires ({{commentsTotal}})

Andres Oper
Andres Oper Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

Estonia's third most capped footballer, Andres Oper, has announced his decision to retire from the sport, after a career spanning 20 years.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday evening, the now former striker said that he still had the thirst, but the decision was triggered by a neck injury suffered in a car crash seven months ago, which has taken a long time to recover from.

"After the crash I was depressed and did not know what would become of me. I hoped to return, like after previous injuries,“ the 36-year-old said.

Speaking about the future, Oper said he plans to stay in football, either as a coach, scout or sports director.

Oper will take to the field one more time on May 26 for a friendly against Gibraltar. He said he will hope to add to his goal tally.

The striker began his professional career with FC Flora in 1994, moving on to AaB of Denmark five years later for a reported 750,000-euro transfer fee, a huge sum for an Estonian footballer. After a successful spell in Denmark, Oper spent two seasons in Russia with Torpedo Moscow before signing with Roda JC of the Netherlands.

He then spent short stints in China and in the Netherlands again, and has since 2010 been living and plying his trade in Cyprus.

His record 38 goals for the national team, from 133 games, is likely to remain the benchmark for years. Out of the active footballers, Konstantin Vassiljev is fifth on the team's all-time top-scorers list with 17, while youngsters Henri Anier and Sergei Zenjov have 12 between them.

Oper's greatest moments for the national team came in a match against Russia, when he scored two goals (watch here), and one against the Netherlands (watch here).

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