Swansea City legend Angel Rangel has announced his retirement from professional football.
The Spaniard, who has spent the last two years at fellow Championship side Queens Park Rangers, hasn't played a single minute of competitive football since rupturing his Achilles against Luton Town in July last year, and has decided to call time on a remarkable career.
The 38-year old had initially intended on spending one final year as a player, having undergone extensive rehabilitation with the R's to overcome the problem.
But he has explained that a conversation with his youngest son convinced him to hang up his boots.
“I was ready to go back to train with QPR, but my youngest - he’s 10 - said he missed me, and I was his best friend. That broke my heart. I’ve been away from home for three years, so I just thought what am I doing? I’m 38, just enjoy family time," he told Swansea City's official website.
“I’m healthy and I’ve got lots of incredible memories, so it’s the right time for me to retire.
“I just want to take time to spend with my family and enjoy that. Of course, football has been a major part of my life and I’ve learned a lot, so I think I can give back.
“I’ll take time to speak to some of the coaches I’ve played under, and then get my badges. Then we’ll see what happens.”
Rangel, who's now set to move back to Swansea to be with his wife Nikki and his three children, left the Swans in 2019 as one of their most beloved heroes.
The Spaniard, who was spotted by Roberto Martinez playing semi-professional football in Spain, went on to play nearly 350 games for the Swans and was instrumental in their rise to the Premier League.
Reflecting on his time in South Wales, he added: “I came to Wales not knowing any English, I didn’t know anything about Swansea, but it was the chance I had to take, and it’s paid off in so many ways for me,” he says.
“I was taking a risk, but I had to follow my dream. I was only scouted because the scouting team’s plane journey from Barcelona was delayed a few hours, so they watched another game and signed me – even though they were watching someone else. It was destiny I suppose.
Coincidentally Rangel's announcement comes ahead of the Swans' clash with his current club QPR at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night, in a match that will be played in front of an empty Liberty Stadium.
The full-back knows more than most the sort of special atmosphere the Jack Army can create, and admits he hopes they will be watching top flight football again soon.
“The relationship with the fans was always second to none from day one. Not just from hearing them sing my name at the Liberty, I could feel their love up and down the country and in the streets.
“And, of course, looking up at 40,000 Jacks at Wembley during the play-off final was just incredible. They are moments that will never leave me.
“Knowing that we had delivered Premier League football to the fans and the city meant so much to us. Not since the legends of Alan Curtis and John Toshack had the club played in the top flight, and we were so proud to be among that group of players.
“I’m hoping we can get back to where we belong – the Premier League. Whether it’s in the top two, or via the play-offs, it would be an incredible season under Steve Cooper if we could do it."