Bengaluru, June 14: Former Kerala Blasters captain and Northern Ireland's most-capped player Aaron Hughes has called time on his professional career.
The 39-year-old made the announcement after his country's 1-0 win over Belarus in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
In an illustrious playing career which stretched over 22 years, Hughes had 12 international caps under his name (a record for Northern Ireland), captaining his nation in 48 of them.
"So my professional playing career has finally come to an end and I'm officially retired! Not sure where the time went, but what an incredible journey it's been. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me along the way. I have quite literally lived the dream!," Hughes tweeted.
So my professional playing career has finally come to an end and I’m officially retired! Not sure where the time went, but what an incredible journey it’s been. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me along the way.— Aaron Hughes (@AaronHughes18) June 12, 2019
I have quite literally lived the dream!
A solid defender who is never shy to make a tackle or two, Hughes has played for English clubs like Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Brighton & Hove Albion in both the Premier League and the Championship.
After a glittering career in Europe and a short stint in the A-League, Hughes came to India to ply his trade with Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Blasters, signing up as their marquee player in 2016.
He added enough composure to the Blasters backline and guided them to the final, which they eventually lost to their old foes ATK. In the course of the season, he made 11 appearances and alongwith making 55 clearances, nine interceptions, 15 blocks and five tackles, he also slotted home a goal.
"Thank you for all the precious moments in Yellow and wishing you all the best for your future endeavors," tweeted Blasters as a mark of respect for Hughes.
Congratulations on an illustrious career, @AaronHughes18! 👏— Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) June 12, 2019
Thank you for all the precious moments in Yellow and wishing you all the best for your future endeavors 💛💙 #NammudeSwantham #KeralaBlasters pic.twitter.com/GuuIcWHiSm
Hughes had initially his retirement from international football back in 2011, but was convinced by former manager Michael O'Neill to reverse his decision.
(With inputs from ISL Media and other sources)