Former Israel defender Shimon Gershon has had to retire from football at the age of 32 after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
The Beitar Jerusalem FC player said: "I will be 33 next month and I wanted to carry on playing, but the doctors told me that if I continue in competitive sport I will be putting myself in danger. I can't really believe that it is all over, but I'm hoping this will be for the best."
Capped 50 times, Gershon famously scored a penalty for his first club, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, as they defeated Chelsea FC 3-1 on aggregate en route to the 2001/02 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. He retires as one of Israel's most successful players, having won three Premier League titles and five State Cups, including domestic doubles with both of his clubs.
"No professional player believes he will ever retire, but I have a wife and family who mean the world to me," he said. "All I can say is that I wish all players could have as successful a career as mine, and play for clubs as great as Beitar and Hapoel. It's hard to imagine life without football as I have been playing since I was 10, but it is time to start a new chapter."
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