FORMER Arsenal player Abou Diaby has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.
The midfielder’s career was plagued with injuries and he played his last competitive match in August 2016.
Diaby joined Arsenal from Auxerre in 2006 as a huge prospect, with Arsene Wenger touting the midfielder as the next Patrick Vieira.
But his nine-year spell at the club was marred with massive fitness problems and he spent almost half of his time on the bench, suffering 42 injuries.
He played in just 180 games for the Gunners, before leaving for Marseille in 2015 – and played his last competitive match in August 2016 against Guingamp.
Diaby told RMC Sport: “It was time. For a number of years it has been difficult for me to come back.
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“I had a lot of physical problems. At one point, you have to ask the right questions.
“I decided to stop simply because the body was not following.
“It’s difficult because I have spent most of my life playing football.”
“It is a closing chapter. A new one opens”
Despite featuring in just two games for Arsenal in his last two seasons at the club, Wenger was saddened to let his pupil go.
He said on the day when the midfielder left the club: “It’s one of the saddest moments for us at Arsenal not to have had the opportunity to get the best out of Abou Diaby because of injury.
“He was the closest to Patrick Vieira we have seen here, with even a good offensive potential.
“In France, he’s regarded highly because every time he played in the French national team he made a difference. It is very sad.”