Former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has retired from football in a bid to protect his health.
The 22-year-old announced the news earlier today and said: “The decision I have made, I have taken it for my health.”
The striker signed for Barcelona in the summer but was taken to hospital in late October after experiencing “chest discomfort” during a La Liga match with Alaves.
Aguero has over 500 senior club appearances, 275 of those for Manchester City, and 282 club goals, 194 of those at City.
He scored in one of his four appearances for Barcelona and enjoyed spells at Atletico Madrid and Independiente prior to his decade-long stint in the Premier League.
The Argentinian represented his county 101 times, scoring 41 goals, and announced his retirement adjacent to Barcelona’s Nou Camp pitch – in which a small audience, including City boss Pep Guardiola, watched on.
“This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football. It’s a very difficult moment,” he added, after sobbing at the beginning of the broadcast.
“When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called me to tell me there was a very big possibility that I wouldn’t be able to keep playing. From that point I was processing it all but it wasn’t easy. One of the doctors told me straight up, ‘that’s enough’.
“I want to tell everyone that I did everything possible. I dreamt about playing football since I was five years old and I first touched a ball. I never thought I would get to Europe, so I want to show my gratitude to everyone regardless of where I trained.
“I’m proud of the career I’ve had and am fortunate it is happening to me now rather than before. I don’t know what awaits me in the next life but I know there are a lot of people who love me and want the best for me.”
Aguero retires as one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history.
The Argentinian is the fourth-highest scoring player in Premier league history behind only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole. He is however the highest-scoring overseas player, with nine more goals than Arsenal great Thierry Henry.
He also has the best scoring rate of any long-term player in Premier League history – one goal every 108 minutes.
He won the Premier League five times with City as part of a 17-trophy haul at the club.
The striker also won the Copa America this year, while winning trophies with Atletico too, and has a total of 21 individual accolades across his career.
Aguero played a total of 165 minutes for Barcelona, who he signed for after his contract with City expired. He had a €100m buy-out clause in his Catalan contract.