However, injury woes disrupted and cut short his career, which included nine and a half seasons at Arsenal – the club he arrived at from Auxerre in January 2006.
"I put an end to my professional career," Diaby told RMC Sport.
"It was time. For a number of years, it has been difficult for me to come back. I had a lot of physical problems."
He added: "I decided to stop simply because the body was not following. It's difficult because I have spent most of my life in football. It's a closing chapter.
"There is a new one that opens. It is a well-considered decision. When I left Marseille, I gave myself a year.
"It turned out to be more complicated than I thought. I got to a point where even in my daily life it bothered me."
Such were his injury struggles, Diaby made just 122 Premier League appearances during his time at Arsenal.
He made just 22 appearances over his last four seasons with Arsenal, with only two coming in his last two years with the Gunners.
Diaby also earned 16 caps for France, earning a spot on the country's 2010 World Cup roster.