Barcelona and Argentina star Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement due to a heart condition.

Aguero moved to Camp Nou on a free transfer in the summer following his departure from Manchester City, having spent the previous 10 years of his career at Etihad Stadium. A calf injury saw the 33-year-old miss the start of the season at Barca, and he only ended up making five appearances for the club before a serious health scare ruled him out of action indefinitely, ultimately forcing him to call time on his career.

What’s been said?

Aguero confirmed his heartbreaking decision to hang up his boots rather than taking the risk to continue playing in an official press conference at Camp Nou.

“This conference is to announce I have decided to stop playing professional football,” he said. “It is a very difficult moment. The decision I have taken is for my health [and relates to] the problem I had a month-and-a-half ago. I have been in good hands with the medical staff.

 

Aguero was joined by a number of key figures at his announcement. Barcelona president Joan Laporte was by his side through the announcement, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also in attendence. Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was also on hand, along with representatives of the other clubs Aguero played for in his career.

“I made the decision 10 days ago after doing everything possible to have some hope of playing on. I am very proud of my career. I always dreamed of a professional career since the first time I touched a ball at five. I want to thank Atletico Madrid who took a chance on me when I was 18 and Manchester City, everyone knows how I feel about City and how well they treated me there. I will leave with my head held high. I don’t know what awaits me in the next part of my life. But I know I have people who love me. I will always remember the amazing things.”

‘Life comes first’

On Wednesday, Aguero took to social media to post an emotional open letter detailing his decision to step away from the game.

Having received feedback from doctors, Aguero came to the decision that “life comes first”, saying that his forced retirement is far from a tragedy given the highs he reached during his professional career.

“Life goes on, and there’s plenty of it ahead,” part of Aguero’s statement read. “It will be a new stage, a different one indeed, but I’ll keep on just like I’ve done so far: always positive, with enthusiasm and joy.”

Aguero’s heart condition

Aguero was initially admitted to hospital after suffering from chest pains during Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Alaves in November.

The Argentine, who began his career at Independiente before joining Atletico in 2006, underwent a series of tests before doctors determined a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, to be the root cause of his discomfort.

 

 

Had Aguero continued playing, he would have been at risk of a life-threatening episode such as the one suffered by Denmark international Christian Eriksen during Euro 2020.

Aguero’s career

Sergio Aguero began his career coming through the youth squad at Argentinian club Independiente. He would make his debut for the club in 2005, and soon impress enough to earn a 2006 move to Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

Five years and exactly 100 goals later, he was on his way to Manchester City where he would become a club legend across a 10-year span with the English club. He would be integral in securing the club’s first-ever Premier League title, scoring the iconic goal against Queens Park Rangers that saw City pass rivals Manchester United atop the table with just seconds remaining in the season. He would make 390 appearances for Man City across all comopetitions, scoring 260 goals and winning five Premier League championships, one FA Cup, and six League Cups.

Internationally, Aguero would eclipse the century mark for Argentina, making 101 appearances from his debut in 2006 against Brazil to his final appearance in the 2021 Copa America quarterfinals against Ecuador, a competition Argentina would famously triumph. He scored 41 international goals, the last of which came in a 2019 friendly against Uruguay.