Q Radio Sport
Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley has retired from football at the age of 39.
The former West Brom and Rangers man made 203 Premier League appearances and earned 80 caps for his country, scoring in Northern Ireland's first win at the European Championship finals in 2016.
That goal was Northern Ireland's first at a major tournament in 30 years and saw McAuley become the second-oldest scorer at the Euros, before netting an unfortunate own goal in the round-of-16 defeat to Wales.
McAuley, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year for his services to football in Northern Ireland, spent the last season of his career in Scotland with Rangers, making seven appearances.
McAuley had 203 Premier League appearances for the Baggies.
Prior to joining West Brom in 2011, where he spent the majority of his career, McAuley also played in England with Lincoln, Leciester and Ipswich.
Born in Larne, he started his career domestically in Northern Ireland, spending the early years of his playing days at Linfield, Ballyclare Comrades, Crusaders and Coleraine.
In an emotional statement posted on Twitter, McAuley says that he will be "forever thankful" for the support he was given by Northern Ireland fans and paid tribute to all the clubs he played for. "A lot of people have been asking me what my plans are since the summer so I thought it was time to publicly state I've decided to retire from playing," he said.
Confirmed: Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley has retired from football.— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) September 30, 2019
The 39-year-old won 80 international caps, with nine goals.
He says “after 23 years playing football it’s time for new challenges”
Full statement from Big G 👇 #GAWA #Legend pic.twitter.com/nhGyWUrbqT