Former Argentina and Valencia midfielder Pablo Aimar has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 35, after a chronic ankle problem had limited him to only 2 appearances this season for boyhood club River Plate.

The former Benfica man was in contract with his boyhood club River Plate, with whom he had made only 2 appearances this season, due to a chronic ankle problem. Aimar had previously spent 5 years with the Argentine club, before moving to Valencia, where he spent 6 successful seasons.

The 35-year-old felt the time had come to hang his boots after he was left out of the team for River Plate’s next Copa Libertadores match by coach Marcelo Gallardo.

Aimar had represented Argentina on 52 occasions stretching over two World Cup and Copa America’s, scoring 8 goals. He also won two La Liga’s under now Real Madrid manager, Rafa Benitez, with whom he worked at Valencia, while also winning the UEFA Cup. Aimar is also the idol of arguably the current world’s best player, Lionel Messi.

Aimar also spent 5 years with Portuguese side Benfica, and had short stints with Real Zaragoza and Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta’zim FC.

Aimar’s farewell letter to teammates

“They told me I wasn’t going to be on the list for the Copa Libertadores, and I understand,” Aimar wrote. “I don’t want to occupy a place that definitely should be for others.

“Because of this, I decided to stop playing professionally. I will be cheering you on from the stands. I hope that you achieve all that you deserve. One day soon I will stop by to thank you personally for the way you have all treated me.”

Here’s how Twitter reacted as another one of the great’s bid farewell to the beautiful sport: #GraciasAimar