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Hinkel announces retirement

Former Germany international Andreas Hinkel has announced he has retired from professional football at the age of 30.

Hinkel started his career at Stuttgart before moving on to Sevilla in 2006 and Celtic in 2008. His fourth and final stop saw him feature for Freiburg last season, but he failed to win a new contract.

"I have played at a very high level for 12 years now," he told kicker magazine. "As a result I had no difficulty retiring. At the age of 30, you are on the shelf."

Hinkel also explained that he did not want to drop down to the second or third tier after winning numerous titles throughout his career and earning a total of 21 caps for Germany.

Hinkel played 163 Bundesliga matches and scored one goal. He was part of Stuttgart's "young guns", who beat Manchester United 2-1 in the 2003-04 Champions League.

With Sevilla, he won the Copa del Rey and the 2007 UEFA Cup. After moving on to Scotland, he won the Scottish league title in 2008 but, after a cruciate ligament rupture in 2010, failed to get back into the team. During the final year of his career, Hinkel played seven matches for SC Freiburg.

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