LONDON, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Everton vice-captain and former England international left back, Leighton Baines has announced his retirement from football.
The 35-year-old confirmed his decision following Everton's 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth on the last day of the Premier League season.
Baines joined Everton from Wigan in 2007 and in 13 years at the club he made 420 appearances scoring 39 goals, and also represented England on 30 occasions.
"After speaking to my family, I feel now is the right time to end my playing career but I do so with many great memories at this proud football club... Everton means so much to me and it has been an honor to be part of the club for so long.
"I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my time at Everton, especially the fans who have been fantastic with me from the moment I signed," explained the defender in his goodbye letter.
Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted he would have liked Baines to have stayed for another 12 months even though he only made nine appearances in the season that has just finished and he opened the door for Baines to stay on in a non-playing role.
"Leighton has taken the decision to stop playing: I think every Evertonian has to be grateful to him. We would like to keep him in the club because his knowledge is very important. It's his decision," commented the Italian. Enditem