BIRMINGHAM, England (AFP) - Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen announced his retirement on Friday after admitting defeat in his battle to return from a knee injury.
Laursen, 31, has suffered a series of injuries that have restricted the Denmark defender's appearances for Villa over the last two years and has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in January.
The former AC Milan and Parma centre-back was faced with a lengthy rehabilitation period on his right knee before he would return to full fitness and has opted to retire rather than undergo another major operation.
His last match for Villa a 2-1 victory against West Bromwich Albion on January 10, 2009.
"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."