Former Arsenal star Fara Williams announces retirement
- Credit: PA
Former Arsenal star Fara Williams has announced her retirement from football at the end of the season.
Williams, who is England's most capped player announced on Monday afternoon that she was hanging the boots up at the end of the campaign.
The midfielder won two Women's Super League titles with Liverpool and won the FA Cup twice, in 2010 with Everton and in 2016 with Arsenal.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who has been with Reading since 2017 has made 172 England appearances including playing at three World Cups.
She helped the Lionesses finish in third place at the 2015 World Cup and as runners-up at Euro 2009, and also played for Great Britain during the London 2012 Olympics.
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This season she has made 15 appearances for Reading but was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome - a kidney condition caused by an excess leak of protein from blood into urine in 2020 so her minutes have been limited.
Williams said in a statement posted on Twitter and Instagram on Monday: “After much consideration and despite offers to remain within the game, I have made the difficult decision to retire from professional football at the end of the season.
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“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have had a career of more than 20 years within the women’s game, with some incredible highs.”
She added: “Playing football is all I have ever known, but I am excited for the next chapter in my life.
"I thought when I came off the medication, I would be in a better place but I have been off the medication three months and I am so far from being 100% well in myself.
"For the sake of another year, I am not sure my body is able to go and put in that extra work needed to rebuild the muscles I lost during the illness."
Williams played for the Gunners during the 2016-17 season helping them pick up the FA Cup as she played in the 1-0 victory over Chelsea thanks to a Danielle Carter goal.
In 2016 Williams also picked up an MBE for her services to football and charity.
On the news Arsenal Women tweeted: "A true legend of the game, best of luck in your next challenge."
Former Arsenal and England teammate Kelly Smith added: "One of the greats of our game, retiring? Brought a tear to my eye. I loved being your teammate over the years.
"What a player and person. The game will miss you my friend. All the best in retirement."