The 35-year-old striker played in the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and England with Ajax, Porto, Celta Vigo, Blackburn and West Ham respectively, as well as in his native South Africa with Seven Stars and most recently Orlando Pirates.
McCarthy won league titles in the Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa and was part of the Porto side led by Jose Mourinho that triumphed in the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League.
The most-decorated South African player also holds the record for the most goals at international level for the country, with 31 in total.
Having called time on his playing career on Thursday, McCarthy is now looking forward to a future in coaching.
“Football is my life,” he said.
“I have played the game and I love the game, itÔÇÖs in my blood. For the next chapter, IÔÇÖd like to concentrate on getting my coaching badges and at the same time, be part of a club where I can get practical experience.
“IÔÇÖd also like to do some television work because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well.”
Reflecting on his achievements in the game, McCarthy added: “I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winnerÔÇÖs medals in the UEFA Champions League and World Club Cup – the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football.
“I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two World Cup finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and a U-20 World Cup finals will be memories that live in my heart forever.
“And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.”