Hosni Abd-Rabou, one of Egypt's most decorated central midfielders of all time, said on Wednesday he was bringing the curtain down on a glittering 17-year career.
The 34-year-old said in a video message on his Facebook page said he already had plans to retire last summer but postponed his decision to help his club Ismaily in a "difficult time."
"This is a very difficult decision … but I'm now retiring from football. I'm thanking all the Egyptian fans who stood by me," Abd-Rabou added.
"I hoped I would achieve a title for me and for you [Ismaily fans] but, thanks God, the love I had here is one of the best things I enjoyed.
"I wish the club all the best, there are many who can play my role even better than I did," he added.
Abd-Rabou came through the youth ranks of Ismaily in 2002 and has never featured for any other Egyptian club, although at some point he was close to joining their bitter rivals Ahly only to backtrack under pressure from his club's die-hard supporters.
Although Ismaily could not win any titles when Abd-Rabou was at his prime, the midfielder still earned a cult status at the club. His leadership and footballing qualities made him a fan darling and an icon.
Abd-Rabou had brief spells with Strasbourg in France and Al Ahli in Dubai as well as Saudi Arabia's duo Ittihad and Nasr.
He tasted more success on the international level, guiding Egypt to two straight African Nations Cup titles in 2008 and 2010.
Abd-Rabou, who was voted the Nation Cup's best player in 2008, made 97 international appearances, the last of which was in a Nations Cup qualifier against Tunisia in 2014. He also netted 16 goals.
He is a neat distributor of the ball who is also known for his knack to drive forward and hit long-range shots. He is also a dead-ball specialist.
It was not immediately clear whether Abd-Rabou would play again for Ismaily. His last appearance came in the 2-0 defeat by DR Congo's TP Mazembe in the team's African Champions League group-stage opener on Saturday.
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