A tearful Sergio Agüero has announced his retirement from football because of a heart condition, six months after joining Barcelona from Manchester City. The striker wiped away tears with a handkerchief and struggled to compose himself on a stage at the Camp Nou, taking several deep breaths before making a statement that confirmed his playing days were over.
“This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football,” Agüero said. “I have decided to stop playing professional football – it’s a very difficult moment. The decision that I made I have taken for my health, because of the problem that I had a month and a half ago. I was in the good hands of the medical staff who have done their best and have told me that the best thing would be to stop playing. So 10 days ago I made that decision. I want to tell everyone that I did everything possible to have some hope but there wasn’t very much.”
The 33-year-old experienced chest problems and breathing difficulties during Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Alavés on 30 October and was admitted to hospital for cardiological tests. The club said he would be out for three months and would undertake a “diagnostic and therapeutic process” but he has had to call time on his career before that period is up.
“I am very proud of the career I have had – very happy,” he said. “I always dreamed about playing football since I was five years old when I first touched a ball. My dream was to play in the top division; I never imagined I would get to Europe so I want to show my gratitude to everyone.”
His farewell was attended by representatives from City and Atlético Madrid, another of his former clubs, and Agüero – seated beside Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta – wept again as a video of moments from his career were played on a big screen.
“I leave with my head held high – happy,” he said. “I don’t know what awaits me but I know a lot of people love me and want the best for me.”
Agüero is City’s record scorer, getting 260 goals in 390 appearances from 2011-2021, and played for Atlético after starting at Independiente in his native Argentina. He won 101 international caps, scoring 42 goals, and was part of the Argentina squad that reached the 2014 World Cup final and won this year’s Copa América.
“You all know how I feel about Manchester City,” Agüero said. “I did everything as best I could there. I am very grateful because they looked after me really well.”
Asked to detail his most memorable career moments, he first named a goal scored for Independiente against Racing aged 17, winning the Europa League with Atlético and the dramatic strike against Queens Park Rangers that secured the Premier League for City in 2012. “There a lot of beautiful moments,” he said, going on to mention the Copa América triumph and his final goal – for Barcelona against Real Madrid.