Former Arsenal stalwart Abou Diaby has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.
The central midfielder was plagued by injury throughout his senior career and made just six appearances across all competitions in two seasons for last club Marseille, by whom he was released at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017.
Diaby, who earned 16 senior international caps for France between 2007-12 and played at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, spent nine years at Arsenal – who saw off competition from Chelsea for his signature – after being recruited from Auxerre in a £2million deal in 2006.
However, he suffered a succession of injuries – beginning with a fractured ankle sustained just five months into his Gunners career – that limited him to only 180 first-team appearances over that span.
Announcing his retirement live on French television show “Footissime” on RMC on Monday, Diaby said: “I am bringing an end to my professional career. It is the right time.
“For a number of years it has been difficult for me to return, with a lot of physical problems.
“It is a difficult decision but I have thought a lot about my decision and I am at ease with it. After Marseille, I gave myself a year to come back but it was harder than I thought, and I have decided to stop.”
Reacting to Diaby’s announcement, Arsenal tweeted a clip of some of his best moments for the club along with the caption “Thanks for the memories, @AbouVDiaby. We’re all wishing you the very best following your retirement.”
The club also asked supporters to list their favourite memories of Diaby’s time in England, while France’s official Twitter account posted a video of his goal against Finland in 2012 with the following message: “We wish the first goalscorer of the (Didier) Deschamps era a lot of happiness and success in the new life that awaits him.”