Former Real Madrid and Spain defender Alvaro Arbeloa admits “it’s time to say goodbye” after announcing his retirement from football.
Arbeloa spent last season at West Ham United but made just four competitive appearances for the Hammers, and the 34-year-old confessed his experiences back in England took their toll “mentally”.
“It’s time to say goodbye. I’ve decided to hang up my boots and quit football,” he told Marca.
“Many people encouraged me to continue, that I had the physique to continue playing, but it’s been more of a mental issue.
“For me, football has been about competing every day, going to train and giving my all.
“The time has come for me to say ‘enough’ because what was presented to me wasn’t what I liked about football.
“I always thought I’d play until my legs held out, but ultimately it was a head and motivation issue.
“You often find yourself planning your life or seeing the future in a certain way, but life has other things ready for you and you have to know how to accept and face them.
“Things didn’t happen as I dreamed they would last season. I’m being honest with myself when I say ‘goodbye’ like this.
“Madrid? They know that I’ll be there whenever they need me because it’s my home, the club of my life, but I’ll never call them without being offered something. They know they can count on me.
“I don’t know what I’ll do in the short term. I’ve just stopped playing and no-one else knows anything.
“I have the qualifications to be a sporting director and I’ll do my coaching badges.
“When I was a player, I was curious about what I’d do [after football] but now I see that it’s very difficult. I’ll do my badges, but I don’t know if I want to become a Coach.”
The full-back made over 400 appearances during a professional career that spanned 14 years, having started out with Madrid’s Castilla team.
He then had spells with Deportivo La Coruna and Liverpool, before returning to Los Blancos in 2009 and winning one La Liga title and two Champions Leagues.
Arbeloa also picked up 56 caps for Spain, lifting one World Cup and two European Championships between 2008 and 2012.