Daniel van Buyten retires

Former Belgium international Daniel van Buyten has retired from football.

- Defour signs for Anderlecht

Van Buyten, 36, left Bayern Munich at the end of last season after an eight-year spell at the club during which he won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal four times apiece as well as the 2013 Champions League.

He had most recently been expected to return to his homeland with Anderlecht, but he has now confirmed that he has decided to end his career.

In an open letter published in Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure, he wrote: "Important decisions are often difficult to make. I have realised that over recent days. And reason often trumps emotion.

"My final goal was to play at the World Cup and to give something back to my country. Since January I worked hard and prepared for the big event with the utmost professionalism. My body has certainly suffered for it.

"I was honoured when various proposals arrived while I was in Brazil. In particular, Anderlecht's efforts touched me deeply.

"But those who know me well know that when I engage in a project, I do so at 100 percent. I have tried over the past few weeks but my body tells me it's impossible. I don't want to disappoint a club like Anderlecht and its supporters.

"That is why I have reluctantly decided to decline Anderlecht's offer. A new life begins for me and I want to spend more time with my wife, my children, and the people I love."

Anderlecht's general manager, Herman Van Holsbeeck, told the Belga news agency earlier on Thursday: "He tried to call me but my phone has been switched off while we were finalising the Steven Defour deal. It is up to Daniel to announce his decision and we have to respect that. I expect a call from him. After that, we will communicate as well."

Van Buyten, who also played for clubs including Standard Liege, Marseille, Manchester City and Hamburg, made 84 appearances for Belgium, appearing in all five of the country's games at the 2014 World Cup as they reached the quarterfinal stage.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.