South Korean football great Lee retires

Vancouver: Lee Young-pyo, arguably South Korea`s greatest footballer who played a key role in leading his country to three consecutive World Cup appearances, has hung up his cleats.

The 36-year-old right back, the third-highest-capped South Korean player with 127 international appearances, closed out his career before a sold-out house at British Columbia Place stadium Sunday after helping the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, the Canadian team`s final game of the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season, reports Xinhua.

"I have retired from football, but I`m feeling so happy at this moment because it is exactly what I wanted to get from retirement when I was young," said Lee, who signed with Vancouver as free agent in December 2011 after two seasons in Saudi Arabia.

In a career that saw him play with giants such as PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League and Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, the diminutive Lee brought a much needed veteran presence to Vancouver, a third-year MLS team that missed the playoffs this season.

"I will never forget the last two years in Vancouver in my life," said Lee, who appeared in 65 MLS games, scoring once and adding 10 assists.

Lee indicated he would be staying in Vancouver for the next two to three years to pursue his "interest" in sports business and administration.