After spending more than two decades as a footballer, a former FC Barcelona star has finally hung up his boots, but not before revealing a major regret about the way his time at the Spanish giants turned out.
Former Belarus international Alexander Hleb has announced his retirement from the game after 21 years on the pitch.
After bursting on to the scene with BATE Borisov, the six-time Belarusian Footballer of the Year achieved fame with the likes of VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal and FC Barcelona, before winding down his career across Russia, Belarus and Turkey.
In an interview with EFE, as reported by Marca, the 38-year-old revealed that he had made the decision to retire as his body could no longer cope with the regular demands of professional football.
Click through the gallery below to see some famous footballers who retired in 2019:
"I am tired. My body is no longer recovering as before, but I love football. As soon as I watch a game on television, I already miss it," Hleb said.
The former attacking midfielder, who is widely regarded as his nation's greatest-ever footballer, went on to explain how working at Arsenal was "the happiest stage of my life", and that he has one major regret when it comes to his time at Barca, which was considered a failure by most.
"It was entirely my fault, not (then Barca manager Pep) Guardiola's," he added.
"He did everything possible to quickly adapt me to the country and the group, and to learn the language. I acted like a fool myself. The collective was very good. I regret not having learned to speak Spanish."
In his playing career, Hleb won no fewer than 11 major honours, including six league titles across five spells with BATE and the UEFA Champions League, LaLiga and Copa del Rey crowns with the Blaugrana.
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