Genoa's Kakha Kaladze announces retirement from football

The 34 year old former AC Milan defender has announced his decision to retire at the end of the season, in order to dedicate his time to politics in his native Georgia
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.