Thursday 19 July 2012
Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King has announced his retirement from football at the age of 31.
The England international defender made his Spurs debut at the end of the 1998/99 season against Liverpool.
He went on to make 266 Barclays Premier League appearance for Spurs and won 21 caps in total - but he has found his chances for first-team football restricted by a chronic knee injury.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club and to the fans"
- Ledley King
The centre-half, who never played for another club during his career, is to stay at Spurs in an ambassadorial role.
"I have been here since I was a boy, I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team," King told Tottenham's official website.
"I know that being a one-club man is a rarity these days, but I have always enjoyed being part of the set-up here and the challenge of putting this club up with the elite where it should be.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club and to the fans.
"I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods.
"Sadly my injuries and inability to train have now finally brought an end to my career."
"Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this club - as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador"
- Daniel Levy
The club will hold a testimonial match for King at White Hart Lane at the end of the 2012/2013 season, with the opposition determined at a later date.
Chairman Daniel Levy said: "It will undoubtedly be a special night at the Lane, the chance for fans and team-mates to pay tribute to our longest-serving, not to mention one of the most gifted players in the history of the club."
He added: "Ledley has made a magnificent contribution to this club - as a wonderful player, captain and ambassador.
"It has been well documented how he has battled against injury over the years and it is testament to the character of the man how he managed to sustain such high standards of performance on the pitch, while providing such fine leadership."