Lionel Messi has paid tribute to compatriot, Sergio Aguero, following the latter’s retirement from football on Wednesday.
“I have decided to stop playing professional football,” said Aguero, who enjoyed 10 highly successful years at Manchester City before leaving at the end of last season. “It is a very hard moment but I am happy with my decision. My health comes first.”
Messi, who was among the first set of players to pay tribute to the Barcelona forward following the decision, said he shared some good moments with Aguero whom he won gold with at the 2008 Olympics.
“Practically a whole career together, Kun… We’ve had some great moments and others that weren’t so great, but all of them have made us grow closer and become better friends. And we’re going to continue spending them together off the pitch,” the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star began in a lengthy Instagram post.
“With the great joy of lifting the Copa America just a little while ago, with all the achievements you obtained in England… And the truth is that now it hurts a lot to see how you have to stop doing what you love the most because of what happened to you. I’m sure you will continue to be happy because you are a person who radiates happiness and those of us who love you will be there for you. Now a new stage of your life is beginning and I am convinced that you will enjoy it with a smile on your face and with all the enthusiasm that you put into everything.
“All the best in this new stage! I love you very much my friend, I’m going to miss a lot being with you on the pitch and when we meet up with the national team.”
Aside from Messi, footballers across the globe have also continued to send in their wishes to the Argentine star.
Kevin De Bruyne, who played alongside Aguero in Manchester City, also shared a photo of himself and the Argentine player celebrating a goal in the colours of the English champions.
“One of the best strikers ever!” he said. “Want to wish you all the best for the future legend. See you soon @kunaguero.”
Adding to the torrent of tributes from fans and footballers alike, Ivorian legend, Yaya Toure, described Aguero as a friend.
“Sergio, my friend. I am sad to see you retire today but I am also excited for your future,” he said about his former Manchester City teammate in an Instagram post.
“You have so much still to offer the game. We shared many great times on the pitch and I feel blessed to have been your teammate. You will go down as one of the greatest ever and I can say playing alongside you was an honour!”