Mikel Arteta has called time on his playing career following the expiration of his Arsenal contract to work under Pep Guardiola as a coach at Manchester City.
The 34-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and did not make a single Premier League start for Arsene Wenger’s men last term, coming off the bench on nine occasions.
Having come through the Barcelona youth system, Arteta’s career saw him play for Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, Real Sociedad and Everton, before arriving at Emirates Stadium in 2011, becoming captain in 2014.
In a statement, Arteta said: “Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal and retiring from playing to take up a coaching position at Manchester City.
“I’ve enjoyed an amazing five years at Arsenal and it’s been an honour and a privilege to captain such a great club. I would like to personally thank the manager, board, all of my team-mates and of course the fans for the fantastic support I’ve received during my time there.
“I will always remember my time at the Emirates and have gained memories during my time at the club that will stay with me forever – none more so than winning the FA Cups and Community Shields in consecutive seasons – the club’s first trophies in a decade.
“Throughout my playing career I was fortunate to play for some fantastic clubs. Moving to the UK was a big decision for me early in my career but it was without doubt the best decision I could have made and helped shape both the player I became on the pitch as well as the person I am today off it.
“I will never forget the support that I’ve enjoyed from the fans and people of all the clubs I played for in the UK. I must give a special mention to the respect and loyalty I’ve received from the Rangers and Everton fans over the years, as well as the support I got from the fans of PSG and Real Sociedad, without forgetting my first professional club Barcelona … thank you all for everything.”
Arteta explained the chance to work with new City boss Guardiola was too good to turn down.
“I am now looking forward to the challenge ahead at Manchester City,” he continued. “The opportunity to join Pep Guardiola and his team was an amazing opportunity for me and I am incredibly excited for the future.
“Throughout my career I have always been interested in more than just the playing side and have had a passion for helping progress and develop the team outside of just my own role as a player.
“Coaching has always been something I’ve been keen to go in to and over the past few years I’ve worked hard off the pitch as well as on it to develop my skills in order to put me in a position to be able to pursue a coaching role once I finished playing.
“I have been lucky enough to play under some amazing coaches and managers during my playing career and I hope to use elements of everything I’ve learnt from them as well as experience from my own playing career to help City achieve success.
“Thank you again to everyone and let’s keep enjoying this amazing sport that is football.”