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Sergio Agüero Announces Retirement

Argentina striker Sergio Agüero has announced his retirement from football at 33.

The decorated striker is a five-time Premier League winner, but he’s called time on his illustrious career due to a heart condition. He joined Barcelona in the summer, hoping to play alongside Lionel Messi, but after one goal and just four appearances for the Catalan giants, his career is now over.

“This conference is to announce I have decided to stop playing professional football,” he is reported by ESPN as saying. “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 ten days ago after doing everything possible to have some hope of playing on. I am very proud for my career. I always dreamed of a professional career since the first time I touched a ball at 5.”

In October, Agüero was withdrawn from a game against Alaves after experiencing chest pains, which was later confirmed as arrhythmia. It was believed that would rule him out for three months, but the player has had regular cardiac exams to monitor the situation. The advice is for him to cease his playing career immediately.

His Argentina teammate, Lionel Messi, issued a heartfelt message to his teammate, with whom he lifted his first international trophy, the Copa America, over the summer. “We have lived very beautiful moments and others that were not so much so, but all of them brought us together even more and made us closer as friends. And we are going to continue to live moments together off the pitch,” Messi wrote. “With so much happiness to lift the Copa America such a short time ago and with all of your accomplishments in England, the truth is that it hurts a lot to see how you must leave what you love the most due to what has happened.”

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It is another blow to Barcelona, who captured the Manchester City man on a free transfer over the summer. Ahead of their financial woes, he intended to pair Lionel Messi in a dream duo for Barca, but that didn’t materialize. Messi departed for Paris St Germain, leaving Agüero at a club in disarray. They’re outside the top five in La Liga and crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages after 3-0 defeats against Bayern Munich (twice) and Benfica. That’s seen them slip into the Europa League, where they’re currently second favorites with Bwin Sports to lift the trophy. However, the draw has paired them with Napoli, one of the most challenging they could have got. In February, they’ll have to travel to the Diego Maradona Stadium without the prolific Agüero among their roster.

It’s not all doom and gloom; Agüero’s retirement will help ease the financial crisis; it’s believed he was on around $172,000 per week at Camp Nou. That was half of his wages at Manchester City, but still, a sizeable sum that new manager Xavi can allocate elsewhere in January. Whether he can find a player as prolific as Agüero, with 385 goals from 685 appearances, remains to be seen.

See also ‘Barcelona Is My First Choice, I Feel at Home There’ if you have a love for the famous Catalan club.