Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen has retired from football after struggling with long-term knee injuries.
Villa announced today that the Danish center back decided to quit rather than have more surgery, which would have meant another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
"Villa are sad to announce Martin Laursen's retirement from football," a statement on the club's website read.
"The club captain made the decision after being faced with another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
"He elected to hang up his boots rather than undergo another major operation - this time on his right knee.
"The retirement of the lion-hearted defender will be a huge loss to the players, manager and fans."
Laursen was signed from AC Milan in 2004 but played only 28 times for Villa in his first three seasons in the Premier League, and the injury problems returned this term. He played 53 times for Denmark but had already announced his international retirement.