An emotional Sergio Aguero announced on Wednesday that he is retiring from soccer due to a heart condition.
“This conference is to announce I have decided to stop playing professional football,” Aguero said at a press conference alongside F.C. Barcelona president Joan Laporta. “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 for my career. I always dreamed of a professional career since the first time I touched a ball at 5.”
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In addition to the press conference, the Argentinian star took to Twitter to post another lengthy and heartfelt message:
Aguero last played in late October, when he left F.C. Barcelona’s draw against Alaves during the first half due to chest pains and was admitted to a hospital. It was announced that Aguero was dealing with arrhythmia, also known as an irregular heart rhythm. The club ruled him out for three months following a cardiac exam.
He has since undergone regular cardiac exams with the results indicating it was time for him to hang up his cleats.
“I feel OK right now,” he said on Wednesday. “Obviously the first two weeks were really difficult. When they did the first physical test on me, the medical staff told me there was a very big possibility I would not be able to continue playing.
“I am still processing everything. Then they called me to tell me it was definitive. Right now, I am OK, but I know it was difficult.”
Tributes poured in from across the soccer world, including messages from countryman Lionel Messi, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Aguero signed with Atleti in 2006 after beginning his pro career with Independiente. He played five years in Spain before joining Manchester City in 2011. The striker spent the next decade with the English club, becoming the team’s all-time leading scorer with 260 goals. He also had an illustrious career with the Argentina national team, scoring 41 goals in 101 caps and earning a Copa America title this past summer.
Among all of those strikes, nothing compares to his league-clinching goal with Manchester City back in 2012.
Aguero joined Barça on a free transfer this past summer. A calf injury delayed his debut until October, and he played five games with the club. His lone goal came in an El Clásico defeat to Real Madrid on Oct. 24.
Aguero’s retirement is just the latest obstacle for Barça in 2021.
After 21 years with the club, Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain in August. The team’s play has suffered since, as Barça currently sit eighth in the La Liga table. They were eliminated in the first round of the Champions League, a run that featured 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica.
All of this has happened since the club was involved in the Super League fiasco, too.
The team is now playing under club legend Xavi Hernández, who took over as manager in November. Sergi Barjuan was the previous interim manager after Ronald Koeman was sacked in October.
Barça’s next match is against Elche in La Liga play on Saturday.