De la Pena announces retirement
Spanish midfielder Ivan De la Pena has confirmed he is retiring from professional football.
Last Updated: 19/05/11 4:44pm
Spanish midfielder Ivan De la Pena has confirmed he is retiring from professional football this summer.
The veteran Espanyol playmaker has been struggling with injuries, which have restricted him to only five league matches in the last two seasons.
The 35-year-old has now decided to call time on his playing career at the end of the current campaign.
"I would've liked to have played more these years but, unfortunately, because of the injuries, I haven't been able to," said an emotional De la Pena.
"I want to thank everyone for all the support I've received. My head would like to continue, but my body has said 'enough'."
De la Pena came through the youth ranks at Barcelona before becoming a first-team regular, winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the European Cup Winners' Cup.
He then moved to Lazio in 1998 and had loan spells at Marseille and back with Barca before making a permanent move to their city neighbours Espanyol in 2002.
De la Pena won the Copa del Rey again with Espanyol in 2006 and played five times for Spain during 2005.
Espanyol, who are safe from relegation and cannot get into the European places, finish their La Liga campaign at home to Sevilla on Saturday and De la Pena is looking to make his farewell in that match.
"I hope to go onto the pitch once again, after so much time, and say goodbye from the centre of the field," he said, while also admitting he has not thought about what his next step will be.
"Saturday's will be my most difficult game. It will be tough but also nice.
"I'm hoping to enjoy Saturday, to say goodbye on the pitch if the coach puts me on.
"Then we'll see. I would like to continue in the world of football, because it's what I've always done, but now I want to be with my family."