PHOTOS: Former Chelsea and Arsenal defender retires - career in pictures

William Gallas has retired from professional football at the age of 37.

Former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender William Gallas has today announced his retirement from the game.

The 37-year-old former Premier League star made the following statement:

“It is not an easy thing to announce. You always tell yourself that you can keep going, but, I think today I cannot go on any longer.”

Gallas started his footballing career with Caen, after working at the infamous Clairefontaine football academy. After helping them to promotion in 1996 he went on to play for Olympique Marseille.

It was whilst at Marseille that he was spotted by Chelsea. Claudio Ranieri spent £6.2 million on the versatile defender in 2001 - he emerged into the first-team with academy star John Terry and a player signed in the same year Frank Lampard, so he certainly had Chelsea royalty at his side for the duration of his Blues career.

After five years, over 200 appearances and three major honours Gallas left Chelsea amid a storm in 2006. He joined Arsenal as part of the deal that saw Ashley Cole arrive at Chelsea - after he became unhappy at continually playing left-back. He reportedly told the club he would 'start scoring own goals' if they refused him a move.

During his time at Arsenal he was often the centre of controversy. He was made captain by Arsene Wenger, took Dennis Bergkamp's number 10 and scored against his former club Chelsea.

But his time at Arsenal will always be remembered for his petulance after a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City in 2008. It was the game in which Eduardo broke his leg so horrifically and Gallas sulked on the pitch after Birmingham scored a last minute penalty.

In the end, after another controversy, Gallas was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in November 2008, being replaced by Cesc Fabregas. He spent another 18 months at the club before leaving on a free transfer in 2010 - after contract talks fell apart over wage demands.

On top of his successful club career Gallas was a French international. He played 84 times for Les Bleus, scoring five goals - including an infamous finish against the Republic of Ireland after Thierry Henry had handled at the back-post. After an nine year international career Gallas retired in June 2011.

Never afraid of controversy Gallas stayed in North London, joining Tottenham Hotspur in August 2010. He spent three years at the club, suffering with injuries and a big decrease in performance toward the end of his stay before being released in June of last year.

After a four month hiatus Gallas joined Australian A-League side Perth Glory last October. A year down the line and Gallas has decided to hang up his boots.

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