Espanyol legend and former Spain striker Raul Tamudo has announced his retirement from football.
The 37-year-old spent the final two years of his career in his native Catalonia with Segunda B side Sabadell but missed much of last season with a knee injury and was subsequently considered surplus to requirements.
“I always wondered whether it would be difficult to announce my retirement as a professional footballer and now I know, at the very least, that it's a special feeling,” he wrote in an open letter, Marca reports.
“This moment comes around for everyone but, frankly, I can't complain because I've enjoyed this sport as much as I possibly could.
“I'd like to thank all the Coaches who guided me in my career and helped shape me as a person and footballer.
“I'd like to thank each and every one of my teammates because I've experienced lived unique and unforgettable moments with them.
“Thanks to all fans for treating me so, so well from the first minutes. They supported me through the bad times and enjoyed themselves during the good times.
“When I used to spend hours and hours playing through the streets of Santa Coloma, never did I think that I'd receive the affection I got, especially from Espanyol fans.
“Thanks to my brother Paco for all the hours he spent with me and his continued support, my parents for sacrificing so many things, just so they could see their children do what they liked.
“I'm a father and I want to enjoy my son for as long as possible, take him to Cornella-El Prat with me to watch Espanyol. I'm grateful for everything.”
Tamudo ends his career as Espanyol top goalscorer, having scored 140 times in 387 official appearances, with 10 of his 14 seasons in their first team resulting in double digits.
He also netted five strikes in 13 caps for Spain between 2000 and 2007 and represented Alaves, Lleida, Real Sociedad, Pachuca and Rayo Vallecano aside from Espanyol and Sabadell.