Spain’s all-time top goal scorer David Villa will retire next month, at the end Japan’s J-League season.
The former Barcelona striker will end a 19-year career, in which he won the 2010 World Cup and 2008 European Championship with his country.
The 37-year-old, who also won two La Liga titles and the Champions League with Barca, said he had been thinking about the decision for a long time.
“I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire,” he added.
Villa, who has been playing for Vissel Kobe this year after four seasons in the United States with New York City, will become an investor in Queensboro FC, a new franchise based in the New York district of Queens that will play in the second tier of US football.
“Even though I will no longer be on the pitch, I will continue to be involved in football in other ways and will continue to contribute to the football world,” he said.
Villa scored 59 times for Spain, playing in three World Cups, lifting the trophy in 2010 after winning the European Championship two years before.
He also scored the third goal for Barcelona at Wembley in the 3-1 win over Manchester United in the 2010-11 Champions League Final.