Former Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky announces retirement
Former Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has announced his immediate retirement from professional football.
The 37-year-old had been playing for Sparta Prague but the club revealed on Wednesday that he has decided to hang up his boots during the winter break.
Rosicky, who struggled with injuries towards the end of his 10-year stay at Arsenal, said he felt he was no longer in a position to offer his best to Sparta - the club where he started his career in 1998.
"After careful consideration I have realised I am no longer able to fully prepare my body for what the professional football requires," he told the club's official website.
"I would like to thank Sparta for raising me, for being the first step in my career in big clubs, and for allowing me to say goodbye at the place I love the most."
Rosicky left the Czech Republic in 2001 when he moved to Borussia Dortmund, establishing himself in the side before Arsenal came calling.
Under manager Arsene Wenger he won two FA Cups during his time at the Emirates Stadium, becoming a firm fan favourite in the process.
He received a guard of honour from his team-mates after the 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on the final day of the 2015-16 Premier League season - many of them sporting names with his shirt emblazoned on the reverse.
Injuries and increased competition saw Rosicky depart and return to his boyhood club, only for injury to strike on his second debut - ruling him out for the entire season.
Capped 105 times by the Czech Republic, Rosicky has now retired as Sparta sit fifth in the HET Liga table with their next fixture not until February 17.