Former St Johnstone defender Lars Dendoncker has retired from football at the age of just 22 because of a heart condition.
The Belgian centre-back, who made seven appearances for Saints on loan from Brighton in 2021, posted the announcement last night on Instagram.
The highlight of his short time at McDiarmid Park was an impressive debut in a 3-1 win over Dundee.
Three points ✅
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) October 6, 2021
He said: “Hi everyone, where do I start.
“As a child, I only had one dream. Become a professional football player. But my professional career and dream has come to a very early end.
“Because of my heart condition, I have decided to stop playing because of my own health.
“This was and will be the hardest decision ever in my life. But there is no going back and I have to look in the future. This will take time to process.
“I’ve learned a lot throughout the years and had to sacrifice a lot. So this really hurts.
“Eleven years at the academy of Club Bruges where I made a lot of friends. Two beautiful years with Brighton and a loan move to St Johnstone where I made my professional debut.
“I want to thank all the players and staff that I have worked with.”
Dendoncker, who is the younger brother of Aston Villa midfielder Leander, was released by Brighton a year ago.
Saints posted a message on social media.
“Everyone at McDiarmid Park sends their best wishes to Lars Dendoncker who has announced his retiral at the age of just 22 due to a heart condition. All the best, Lars.”