Hitzlsperger announces retirement

The 31-year-old has decided to hang up his boots with immediate effect as he feels he needs a new challenge in life.

Former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 31.

The midfielder was released on a free transfer by Everton at the end of the 2012-13 campaign and he has now decided to hang up his boots.

"I've been sure about it for a few days. I won't be playing anymore," Hitzlsperger was quoted as saying by Suddeutsche Zeitung. "My body was giving the appropriate signals that it was time to stop. The strain of many transfers and some injuries have tipped the balance.

"I need a new challenge in my life."

Hitzlsperger came through the ranks of the Bayern Munich youth academy, but left the Bundesliga giant for Aston Villa before breaking into the first team.

He also wore the jerseys of Chesterfield, Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham and Wolfsburg during his active career.

He was capped 52 times by his country and made appearances at both the European Championships and World Cup.