Abelardo ready to say adiós

Former Spanish international defender Abelardo Fernández is to retire at the end of the season.

No second term
Abelardo announced today that he had turned down the option of a second season with his current club, Deportivo Alavés, in order to call time on his 14-year career. He will be released by the Vitoria-based outfit on 30 June.

Down and out
The 33-year-old centre-back joined Alavés from FC Barcelona last summer but could not prevent the club being relegated to Spain's second division last weekend. He said: "I spoke to the club and agreed that I would end my contract on 30 June.

Star signing
"It was a major investment by them when they signed me. They put a lot of money into bringing a 'star' player from Barcelona, and don't deserve a player like me who isn't at the height of his game."

Championship material
A product of the Real Sporting de Gijón youth academy, Abelardo won 54 international caps and was twice a Spanish champion with Johan Cruyff's Barcelona.

Highs and lows
He added: "I have been involved in this sport for 14 years and have had many highs and lows, including relegation this year with Alavés and two serious knee injuries. But there have been highlights like the titles I won, and I am among the eleven or 12 most-capped Spanish internationals."