Genoa defender Kakha Kaladze has today announced his intention to leave the club and retire from football at the end of the season, bringing to an end a stellar career spanning 19 years.
The former Georgian international joined the Rossoblu in 2010 from AC Milan and made 28 appearances for the Serie A outfit, but has decided to bring down the curtain on his professional career; instead focusing on a career in politics in his native Georgia.
"Today for me is a very important and exciting day. After 18 years, I retire." the 34 year old told reporters in Saturday's press conference.
"On one hand, I'm sorry, and I thank you all [including] Genoa, Milan, the fans, the team-mates and opponents.
"On the other, I'm excited because I have decided to engage in politics. This will be the bigest game of my life. I want to fight for [the] freedom and democracy in my country, Georgia."
The defender spent nine years at the Rossoneri, winning Serie A once as well as two Champions League triumphs among a host of other honours. Kaladze's previous clubs include Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Tbilisi.
Capped 83 times by his country, the defender - who had one year left to run on his contract - will play his final game for Genoa against Palermo on Sunday at Marassi.