Argentina and Barcelona star Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football just over a month after the 33-year-old was diagnosed with a heart condition.
The former Manchester City player signed a two-year deal with Barcelona this year but made just five appearances, scoring one goal against Real Madrid, before being taken to hospital with “chest pains” after a match at home to Alaves in October.
“I have decided to stop playing professional football,” said Aguero at a press conference at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
“It is a very difficult moment. The decision I have taken is for my health … I made that decision a week ago. When they did the first test in the clinic, the medical staff called to tell me there was a very big possibility that I wouldn’t be able to keep playing.
“I was still processing it all when one of the doctors told me straight up ‘That’s enough.'” he said.
"I have decided to stop playing football."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 15, 2021
Aguero, commonly known by his nickname “Kun”, began his career at Independiente in his native Argentina before moving to Europe in 2006 to sign for Atletico Madrid.
He won the Europa League during his time with the Spanish side and then moved to City in 2011.
Aguero left the Premier League club a decade later as their all-time leading scorer with 260 goals, the most famous being his injury-time strike against Queens Park Rangers in May 2012 which won the side the Premier League title.
He won five Premier League titles with City, as well as one FA Cup and six League Cups.
“I want to share my gratitude to everyone, regardless of where I’ve played … Atletico Madrid … Manchester City … Barca,” he said.
‘All of our support’
Barcelona President Joan Laporta said Aguero had “all of our support” wished him “all the best”.
The Argentine’s former teammate Kevin De Bruyne hailed Aguero as one of the “best strikers ever”.
“Want to wish you all the best for the future legend,” he tweeted.
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) December 15, 2021
Aguero’s retirement comes at the end of a year marked by the collapse of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, who suffered a heart attack playing for his country against Finland at Euro 2020 in June.
Eriksen was later fitted with a pacemaker but is not permitted to play in Serie A as a result.
France World Cup winner Lilian Thuram retired aged 36 in 2008 after a medical at Paris Saint-Germain revealed a heart condition.
Aguero’s retirement means he will miss out on the chance to represent Argentina at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
However, he did help his country win the Copa America in Brazil earlier this year, collecting his 100th cap during that tournament.
For Argentina, Aguero scored 41 times in 101 games, putting him third on the national team’s all-time scoring list – after making his senior team debut in 2006.