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By ESPN Staff

Mariners' defender Zwaanswijk to retire

Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk, rated one of the best foreign imports to play in Australia's A-League, says he will retire after the Central Coast Mariners' AFC Champions League tie against China's Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 38-year-old former FC Utrecht and NAC Breda defender will end his playing career in the two-match tie against Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou in Gosford next Wednesday and the reverse fixture in China on May 22.

The Mariners say Zwaanswijk will remain with the club and take charge of the youth team for the next three years.

Zwaanswijk said after nearly two decades of playing professional football in the Netherlands, as well as in Japan and Australia, the new opportunity with the Mariners youth team had made his decision easier.

"At a certain point there's a transition in life," he said.

"For me, it's important to give back to football and to give back to, at this particular time, the Central Coast Mariners."

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said Zwaanswijk was one of the best foreigners to play in the Australian domestic league.

"He has proven his quality over the past three seasons, making an enormous contribution to the Mariners and the A-League," Arnold said.

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