Sergio Aguero confirmed his immediate retirement from playing football in an emotional press conference on Wednesday.
The former Manchester City star moved on a free transfer to Barcelona in the summer, but injury and the club’s financial constraints in initially registering him as a new player meant he didn’t debut until 17 October.
And just two weeks later, in what was only his fifth appearance for the club, he came off with chest pains against Alaves - leading to the Catalan club saying he would not play for another three months while tests were undertaken.
He was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and, subsequently, has now opted to end his time on the pitch, having been advised of medical risks if he continued.
“This conference is to announce I have decided to stop playing professional football,” Aguero said through tears, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola among those in attendance.
“It is a very difficult moment. The decision I have taken for my health; the problem I had a month and a half ago. I have been in good hands with the medical staff. I made the decision 10 days ago after doing everything possible to have some hope of playing on.
“I am very proud of my career. I always dreamed of a professional career since the first time I touched a ball at five.
“I want to thank Atletico Madrid, who took a chance on me when I was 18, and Manchester City. Everyone knows how I feel about City and how well they treated me there.
“I will leave with my head held high. I don’t know what awaits me in the next part of my life but I know I have people who love me. I will always remember the amazing things.”
Aguero retires after a career spanning nearly 700 matches almost 400 goals with Independiente, Atletico Madrid, Man City and Barcelona. In addition, the 33-year-old won 101 caps with Argentina, the last of which came during the nation’s successful Copa America run in the summer. He is one of just seven centurions for the national team.
‘Kun’, as he is known in Spain, netted 41 times at senior international level after making his senior Albiceleste debut in 2006, making him the third-highest all-time goalscorer for Argentina behind only Lionel Messi and Gabriel Batistitua.
He had signed a two-year deal with Barcelona, but his shortened time there means he scored just the one goal for his final team, having netted just over 100 for Atleti and then become City’s all-time record goalscorer by a massive margin, hitting 260 for them in 10 seasons at the club.
All this came after he made his debut in Argentina’s top flight aged just 15, before also becoming the youngest-ever player to feature in the Copa Libertadores at the time and completing a club-record transfer to Atletico in LaLiga.
His best goalscoring season saw him hit 33 across 45 games in all competitions for Man City in 16/17, while in nine separate seasons he hit the 25-goal mark for the campaign in total.
Aguero won the Europa League with his first Spanish club, before racking up five league titles, the same number of League Cup triumphs and one FA Cup win at the Etihad Stadium. In addition to his Copa America medal in 2021, he was a 2008 Olympic gold medallist with Argentina and twice was a member of the U20 World Cup-winning squad.