As earlier foretold, Argentina and Barcelona star player, Sergio Aguero on Wednesday announced his retirement from football.
The sad news comes just six months after Aguero joined Barcelona, moving to Camp Nou after a stellar decade spent at reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
At the Etihad, the Argentina star became a bona-fide Premier League legend, also becoming the club’s record goal-scorer with 260 goals in 390 games, and winning five league titles.
The 33-year-old moved to Spain in the summer to team up with close pal Lionel Messi for the first time at club level – only to see Messi depart for PSG amid Barca’s financial issues.
Aguero fell to the turf, holding his chest while in discomfort as club medics rushed on. After a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch, Aguero was able to stand up and walk out of action, the striker was then swiftly sent for cardiological tests.
Having seen the results of the tests, Barcelona stated how the Argentine would be sidelined for three months as he undertook a “diagnostic and therapeutic process.
Sadly, that process has been cut short as Aguero confirms his stunning, trophy-laden 18-year career will come to premature and unexpected end at the age of 33.
“I have decided to stop playing professional football, it is a very difficult moment, announced Aguero.
“The decision I have made, I have taken it for my health, because of the problem I had a month and a half ago.
“I was in the hands of the medical staff and they told me the best thing would be to stop playing.
“So 10 days ago I made that decision, I want to tell everyone I did everything possible to have some hope but there wasn’t much.
“I am very proud of the career I have had, I have always dreamt of playing football
“I never thought I would get to Europe, so I want to show my gratitude to everyone.
“From Atletico Madrid, who took a bet on me when I was 18 years old, to Manchester City, you all know how I feel about Man City, I’m very grateful they looked after me very well. I did everything the best I could there.
“And then everyone here at Barca. Everyone’s been incredible. It’s without doubt one of the best teams in the world. I’m very grateful.
“And then obviously the Argentinian national team. I’m very grateful for everyone here. People who worked with me. Also to my team-mates and most recently those at Barca.
“I think I always did my best to help them win. I want to thank my teammates who helped me to grow.
“I don’t know what awaits me in the next life but I know there are loads of people who love me. And I’m grateful to the press that are here.
“Most of them have treated me well! But no worries, it’s their work. I will remember all the amazing things, so thank you all.”
Speaking to reporters, he would add: “I feel OK right now. Obviously the first two weeks were really difficult.
“When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called me to tell me there was a big possibility that I couldn’t keep playing.
“I tried to process it all. It wasn’t easy. I still process everything that the doctors told me straight up, ‘that’s enough.’ It took a few more days to process it all.
“Obviously it’s better happening now when I’m 33 rather than when I was younger.
“But like I said, I’m happy and proud of the career I’ve had. I’m fortunate it has happened to me now than rather than before. I’m happy for the career I’ve had.
“I think I can be happy. As I said, I think I did everything I could for myself and my clubs.”
Tributes have already poured in for a Premier League great, with Pep Guardiola in attendance at Camp Nou.
Joan Laporta, the Barcelona president sitting alongside Aguero, said: “I’m here next to you. It’s as if of all the teams you’ve played for are right here next to me. Atletico Madrid, Independiente, City, Argentinian FA. Spanish football FA as well.
“Sergio I think as we just saw on the video, we are left with the joy and excitement of what you could have been here at Barca. You have all our support and anything you need from your condition you can have it.
“For all the clubs, everywhere you’ve played, you’ve achieved so much. The friendships you’ve made.
“We would have liked you to come here earlier and now a new journey awaits and I hope that it would be just as successful and we wish you all the best, Sergio.”
Manchester City tweeted: “King Kun. Everyone at Manchester City would like to take this opportunity to thank Sergio Aguero for his incredible contribution to our success over the last decade and wish him well in his retirement.”
Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarek added: “The facts speak for themselves – Sergio is quite simply the most ruthless striker in the history of the Premier League.
“It is extraordinary that his statistics, more reflective of two careers, are in fact those of a player whose time in the game was cut short.
“His impact lives not only in the club that we are today, but in the club that we will be for many years to come. He has earned the adoration of the City family, and the respect of the football family the world over.”
Aguero’s former Man City boss Roberto Mancini sent his well-wishes at an award ceremony in Italy recently.
“I’m very sorry, I wish him the best of things,” Mancini said at the Gran Gala Gazzetta Awards. “I’m so sorry to see him leaving so soon.
“I wanted him at City, he’s the foreigner with the highest goal average in England.
“I’m sorry he has to leave football so soon.”
In five games at Barcelona, Aguero notched just one goal for the Blaugrana – but in trademark fashion, it did come in the biggest game of all as he notched in El Clasico – albeit a consolation as Real Madrid claimed a 2-1 win.
Aguero played 101 times for his country during a 15-year international career, scoring 41 goals.