Football: Barca striker Aguero announces retirement due to heart condition

Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero announced his retirement after being diagnosed with a heart condition.

(REUTERS) - Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero announced his retirement on Wednesday (Dec 15) at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with a heart condition, bringing the curtain down on an 18-year career in which he scored more than 400 goals.

The Argentinian was taken to hospital on Oct 30 after experiencing chest pain and breathing difficulties in Barcelona's 1-1 draw with Alaves. The club announced a few days later that he would be out for at least three months following cardiac analysis.

"This press conference is to communicate that I've decided to stop playing soccer. It's a very hard moment but I'm at peace with the decision I made," a tearful Aguero told a gathering at the Nou Camp.

"It's a decision that I made to preserve my health. It's what the doctors said to me, that it would be better to stop playing. I made the decision around 10 days ago.

"I'm very proud of my career, it was a dream come true. I just wanted to be a professional player and never thought that I would play in Europe."

Aguero joined Barca on a free transfer during the close season, but made only five appearances in all competitions due to a calf injury and his cardiac issues, scoring once in a 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid. He moved to Spain after a decade with Premier League champions Manchester City, where he scored 260 goals in 390 appearances to become the club's record goalscorer.

Aguero was not the only player who suffered chest issues on the pitch this year.

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof is undergoing "precautionary investigations" after also suffering breathing difficulties during the 1-0 Premier League win over Norwich City last weekend. He had to be replaced in the game but there are no signs of any serious problems so far.

At Euro 2020, Christian Eriksen collapsed suddenly after suffering cardiac arrest during Denmark's opener against Finland at Parken Stadium in June.

Quick action from a team of medical professionals who tended to him on the pitch saved his life, and he has been fitted with a heart monitoring device and is targeting a return to football next year.

Others, including Marc-Vivian Foe, were not so lucky.

The Cameroonian footballer, who once played for City, collapsed in the centre circle when his nation faced Colombia in 2003.

Attempts to resuscitate him on the field failed and while he was still alive upon arrival at a medical centre, he died shortly afterwards. An autopsy concluded that his death was heart-related.

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