Spain's all time top goal scorer David Villa has announced that he will hang up his boots at the end of the season, with at most five games left of his career.
The 37-year-old has been playing for Japanese side Vissel Kobe this year, having left the MLS at end of last year, and announced on Wednesday morning that this will be the last season of his career.
In a press conference the former Barcelona striker said, "I'm holding (this press conference) to announce that I have decided to retire.
"I've been thinking about this for a long time. This is the result of discussions I had with my family and people around me...I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire from football."
The Kobe forward then took to Twitter to confirm he would see out the season and try and help the side win the Emperor's Cup, which they've reached the semi final of:
After 19 years as a professional, I have decided to retire from playing football at the end of this season. Thank you to all the teams, coaches and teammates that have allowed me to enjoy this dreamed career. Thank you to my family, that has always been there to support me. pic.twitter.com/E82vb3tNwT- David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) November 13, 2019
It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor's Cup with @visselkobe on January 1st. From then on, I will continue to enjoy football through all the projects that we're currently developing with DV7 group. Thank you for all the love.- David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) November 13, 2019
Villa started his career at Sporting Gijon where he impressed enough in the Segunda Division to earn himself a move to Real Zaragoza. In his first season in La Liga he helped the team win the Copa del Rey before winning the Spanish Supercopa at the beginning of the next season.
He lasted just two seasons in Zaragoza before Valencia snapped him up for a bargain €12 million. The Spain forward really made his name at the Mestalla stadium, scoring 129 goals in 225 games.
With Los Ches he again won the Copa del Rey but also came to real prominence with the national team, helping them win the Euros in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010.
Before the World Cup he'd agreed a €40 million move to Barcelona. He played just three seasons at the Camp Nou put was part of an incredible front three with Lionel Messi and Pedro.
Villa won two La Ligas, the Copa del Rey, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup whilst with Pep Guardiola's Barca.
A third league title came at Atletico Madrid, where he stayed just one season, scoring 13 goals for Diego Simeone's team in an incredible season.
He finished his career with New York City and then Kobe, continuing to score at around a goal every other game, and earned one final national call up for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, coming on as a substitute against Italy.
What a player, what an incredible career.
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