Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer David Villa has announced he will retire from playing at the end of the Japanese season.
Villa, who plays for J1 League side Vissel Kobe, will bow out having won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008 with Spain, and the Champions League in 2011 with Barcelona.
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
The former Valencia man said in a statement on social media: "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 team-mates that have allowed me to enjoy this dream career.
"Thank you to my family, that has always been there to support me through good and hard times. It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor's Cup with Vissel Kobe 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."
Following his retirement, Villa will be a lead investor in a new United States football franchise, Queensboro FC in New York, who will enter the second tier of US football from 2021.
He will end his playing career at Vissel Kobe, who play their Emperor's Cup semi-final on December 21 with a potential final on January 1, before moving back to America, where he previously represented MLS side New York City.