Former Liverpool, Newcastle United and Villarreal left-back Jose Enrique has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of just 31, after conceding defeat to knee injuries that plagued his career.
Enrique left his latest club Real Zaragoza this summer after just one season and revealed on Instagram that he is now calling time on his career.
"it comes with a very heavy heart today to announce my retirement from professional football," the former Spain U21 international wrote.
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it comes with a very heavy heart today to announce my retirement from professional football. Its been a very hard decision to take and accept. I would of loved to have played more years at my best level if my body would of let me but all good things have to come to an end and more in football. I just want to say a huge thanks to all of the fans and clubs who have supported me throughout my career. You have been the best! I have been blessed to play for some of the best teams in the world, with some of the best players in the world. these memories will stay with me forever. ❤️⚽️ #thankyou Below is the link to my interview for the Spanish newspaper marca. But you can also find it on sky sports. http://www.marca.com/futbol/premier-league/2017/09/06/59aefff0268e3e003c8b45af.html
"I just want to say a huge thanks to all of the fans and clubs who have supported me throughout my career. You have been the best! I have been blessed to play for some of the best teams in the world, with some of the best players in the world. these memories will stay with me forever."
The player, nicknamed 'Buffalo' during the early stages of his career for his marauding style, spoke to Spanish newspaper Marca about his decision to hang up his boots, while revealing the toll a long-term knee issue (picked up during his time at Liverpool) took on his body.
"Something that was supposed to be for three months ended up turning into two years. I saw five doctors in England, but they did not get the problem," Enrique explained.
"I could not play without medication, I did not even train. It was hard, desperate, sometimes I got dizzy in training on so much medication. After every game or effort, my knee swelled like a ball and I was barely able to walk for three days."
Surgery failed to help Enrique fully recover and, after making just 21 appearances in all competitions in three seasons, he left Merseyside at the end of the 2015/16 campaign with both physical and mental scars.
"I was never the same, it was frustrating. I was three months playing with a broken meniscus. I had to escape to Spain, because I could not even walk," he revealed.
All the best on your next chapter in life bro. Much love 👊🏾— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) September 6, 2017
"I could not compete and I had a terrible time. It affected me a lot because I wanted to and could not. I had anxiety attacks, I thought 'what the hell is wrong with me?' I did not understand it."
However, despite the sad end to his five-year spell at Liverpool, Enrique - who joined the Reds for £7m in 2011 - was given the captain's armband by Jurgen Klopp on his final appearance.
"Klopp let me be captain of Liverpool in my farewell game, an honour that I will always be grateful for," he adde