Ex-Man City defender Richards retires after injury struggles

FORMER Manchester City defender Micah Richards has retired from football at the age of 31.

Richards has been unable to play since October 2016 due to a long-standing knee problem.

He has spent the past four seasons with Aston Villa but could only watch on as they secured promotion to the Premier League by beating Derby County in the play-off final at Wembley in May.

Richards played 31 times in four seasons at Villa Park, but 28 of these outings came in the first year.

“I’m a footballer and I want to play football, but the knee would swell up to the point where I couldn’t even train properly,” he said via City’s website. “I would have liked to have given Aston Villa more on the pitch, but it just wasn’t to be.”

Richards made his City debut in 2005 and went on to win two Premier Leagues, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup before leaving for Fiorentina in 2014.

He also won 13 senior England caps and was part of the Great Britain team that competed at the Olympics in 2012.

“It’s not the ideal way to finish a career, for sure,” he added. “It has been an unequal battle with injury ever since I left City and – being honest – for a good while during my last season at the Etihad.

“I finish my playing days happy that I reached the level that I did. I won the Premier League and the FA Cup, played for England and represented Great Britain at an Olympic Games.

“I consider myself blessed and I am looking forward to renewing my many friendships at City. It is a special place that looks after its own.

“City has always been my spiritual home and where I enjoyed my best years as a player. Being part of the side that ended the long wait for silverware – in 2011 and 2012 – was very special.

“It kick-started this new era and the club has never looked back. What has happened since has been amazing.”

Richards will now be working with Premier League champions City in what is described as “an ad hoc off-the-field role.” –

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