The best stats and tributes as Spain legend David Villa announces his retirement

David Villa is the latest legend of the beautiful game to announce his retirement, with the Spanish icon revealing he will call an end to his glorious career at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old, who currently plies his trade at Vissel Kobe, stated on his official Twitter account that he will bid farewell to football at the end of the current J-League season. The former Spain international wrote on Twitter:

 "After 19 years as a professional, I have decided to retire from playing football at the end of this season.

"Thank you to all the teams, coaches and team-mates that have allowed me to enjoy this dream career.

"Thank you to my family, that has always been there to support me through good and hard times. It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor's Cup with Vissel Kobe on January 1st.

"From then on, I will continue to enjoy football through all the projects that we're currently developing with DV7 group. Thank you for all the love."

Vissel Kobe are currently through to the Emperor's Cup semi-final, which they will play on December 21 with the hope of booking a ticket to the final on January 1st. Should Villa guide them to the trophy, it will be one more title in what has been a successful career.

The attacker, who is La Furia Roja's all-time leading goalscorer with 59 goals in 98 games, has lifted 14 major titles throughout his career. The most notable one is the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with Villa being their key man in the final third.

He rose to fame during his time with Valencia, netting 100 times for Los Che over a five-year spell. A move to Barcelona soon followed, where he won two Liga and Copa del Rey titles, and a Champions League medal back in 2011.

He'd eventually join Atletico Madrid, where he won another Spanish top-flight crown before enjoying spells in the MLS and the A-League.

So far, the 37-year-old has scored a whopping 421 goals in 814 appearances, averaging roughly a goal every other game. He is one of the most underrated strikers in recent years but is now getting the praise he deserves, with pundits, commentators, former team-mates, and fans joining together to pay tribute to the iconic Spaniard. Check out the best tweets below.

"Our Guaje is retiring. Thanks for all those good moments we spent together my friend! Wishing you all the best in your future! You're the man."

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