Barcelona and Spain great David Villa to retire at end of season

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"I've been thinking for several years - when you reach 33, 34 or 35 - the moment can arrive at any time in a game, in training, or with an injury".

"It's better to leave football before football leaves me", he told a news conference speaking in Spanish.

The Spaniard scored 376 goals in 752 games across his club career, as well as a hefty return on the worldwide stage.

He tweeted: "Queens always showed love to me and my family while we were in NY".

The 37-year-old is now playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan after a glittering career at worldwide and club level that has included stints at Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor's Cup with Vissel Kobe on January 1st. "Thank you for all the love".

Villa's career has spanned 19 years and began in Spain with Sporting Gijon before subsequent moves to Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

The attacker has scored 12 times and contributed two assists across 26 appearances this campaign, with the club now 10th in the J-League.

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And on Tuesday, Villa confirmed he had become a lead investor in a new club in the USL Championship.

His club honours include the 2010-11 Champions League, the 2011 UEFA Super Club, 2011 Club World Cup and two La Liga wins in 2010-11 and 2012-13 with Barcelona.

"It's a decision I've thought about a lot", he said.

"There is no other place like it in the world".

"We've worked for many years on this". He said it was "a dream to build" a new professional team.

"I'm very happy with my career. And the future now is Queens".

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