Gabriel Milito to retire at end of Clausura

The ex-Barcelona and Zaragoza man confessed he is exhausted, and will hang up his boots after playing Independiente's last two games of the current season
Independiente defender Gabriel Milito has confirmed he plans to retire from professional football at the end of the 2012 Clausura season, drawing the curtain on his career at the age of 31.

The former Barcelona and Zaragoza man signed for his boyhood club in August 2011 after being released from the final year of his contract with the Blaugrana, having suffered serious injury problems which had limited his appearances in Catalunya since a lucrative move in 2007.

Returning to Avellaneda has not turned out as hoped, however, with Gabi struggling for form and fitness and his team languishing in the bottom half of the Primera Division.

Speaking on Tuesday, Milito admitted that he had nothing left to give on the pitch, and that the final two matches of the season would be his last in the professional game.

"The reasons are clear. Mentally and physically, it is getting harder for me and I am having to force myself to do it. I have decided to put a full stop to my sporting career," the Rojo captain explained to reporters after making a surprise appearance at the afternoon press conference.

"It is never easy to make a decision like this but I am convinced of this decision. I think it is for the best. I have spent so many years doing the same thing. I am taking a weight off my shoulders."

Milito won a total of 14 major titles over a glittering career, including Champions League triumphs with Barcelona in 2008-09 and 2010-11. He also appeared 42 times for Argentina at senior level, and played for the side at the 2006 World Cup.