“I’m here to announce my official retirement from football. I’ve chosen a date for play my last game as a professional. It will be 23th of August against Vissel Kobe in the Stadium of Tosu, To say goodbye to football next my dear friend Andrés Iniesta is something I couldn’t imagine, and Japan will make it possible. Also there will be my friend David Villa, who with I’ve shared probably the best moments in Spanish football history. That’s a perfect timing”.
“Until that day I will keep in the same professional way as always. I will arrive with the first players in the training, work hard and put my hundred per cent in every training, and try to be better. Try to teach and learn from my teammate. I will give everything to help the team, to improve the current situation, which is not the best, to make our supporters proud”.
“I always demand a really high standard of level to myself and I’ve noted sometimes that level is not approaching the standard I want to, that’s the reason to find a date soon. I want to finish football in a good level. Is not about fulfill my contract –I have this year and one more optional- but leaving football with a clear conscience, giving back to football something in every training I do and every game I play. Ending in a good way is really important for me, I did in Atlético de Madrid and I’ll try to do in Sagan Tosu”.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing in J1, it’s a fantastic competition. Been able to keep the team in J1 was a big challenge, I’m very proud to score that goal to Yokohama to make stay us one more year in J-League 1. Hopefully I can enjoy this last two months playing in J-1”.
“I’m not leaving completely. I have to thank the President Mr. Takehara to give the opportunity to become a Board Advisor in the future for the club, so my commitment with him and the supporters is I will give my best to help to develop the club, to make it more known around the world, to improve the things internally and show the world that Sagan Tosu wants to be big in Japan and known around the world. I want to give back the love they gave me and we will work together in the future”.
"The reason is just personal," he said. "I feel that physically and mentally I'm coming to a stage, where the time when I will not able to perform at the level I want is approaching, and I don’t want to be there when it arrives.
"I don’t want to look back in a few years and see myself playing in a level I don’t want to, so it was an easy (decision)."
"I think I need time to be away from daily football, it’s been so many years ... training every day and playing at the highest level every day,".
"So I just need time to spend with my family and think about the next step. I don’t know if it will be coaching or managing."
"Atletico Madrid is my life so probably there will be a way for us to link up somehow in the future, but not immediately,".
"What I’d like to do with Atletico, if I have a chance to go back, will be something so big that I'll need training for it. I'll need to study and understand perfectly how it works, so I will not be back just as a face on show. If I go back it will be a big role, to take the club to the next level."
"I want to really (have) an intense last two months I'll give everything that is left inside of me to help the team to improve the current situation, which is not the best," he said.