Former Philippine Azkals captain Phil Younghusband retired from professional football at the age of 32 but did not specify his future plans, making his announcement through his social media accounts on Monday night.
“Hanging up my boots! Thank you to my bosses, my coaches, teammates, competitors and all the supporters who have been part of my journey. See you all soon in a new adventure,” said Younghusband, who recently got married to Margaret Hall in England last July.
The Filipino-British striker played for the national team for 13 years, becoming the Azkals’ all-time top scorer with 52 goals in record 108 appearances.
Regarded as the face of Filipino football, Younghusband is the lone Filipino footballer in the list of players with 50 or more international goals that includes current football stars Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Starting his duty for the PH XI back in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, Younghusband made his mark after scoring the goal that sealed the Azkals’ 2-0 win over defending champion Vietnam in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup—a win that went down the Philippine football history as the “Miracle in Hanoi”.
Younghusband also played a pivotal role in the Philippines’ first-ever qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, firing his 50th international goal in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Tajikistan last March 27 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
“The feeling of going to the Asian Cup, that’s the thing that matters for me. As I said before, whether it came in this game or in ten games time, the 50th wasn’t on my mind. It was about getting the win,” said Younghusband after that historic game.
However, Younghusband was not included in the starting lineup of the Azkals in the three Asian Cup games. Prior to that, he was left with no club after the sudden shutdown of Davao Aguilas FC late last year.