Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey pays tribute to retired Robert Earnshaw on Twitter

The former Wales international's 18-year playing career saw him take in spells with the likes of Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to former Wales teammate Robert Earnshaw after the 34-year-old striker announced his retirement on Thursday.

Earnshaw, who most recently played for the Vancouver Whitecaps, represented Wales 59 times in an 18-year career that saw him score 236 goals for 11 clubs in six countries.

The Zambian-born forward made his international debut against Germany in May 2002, when he netted the only goal of the game, and went on to finish his Wales career joint seventh alongside Mark Hughes and Cliff Jones on the country’s all-time list of scorers with 16 goals.

Several of his caps came alongside Ramsey from 2008 onwards, while the pair also played together briefly at Nottingham Forest when the Gunners ace was on loan with the Reds in 2010.

In addition, Ramsey was coming up through Cardiff City’s youth system while Earnshaw was starring for his boyhood club between 1998 and 2004, and the 25-year-old’s admiration for his compatriot and fellow former Bluebird was more than evident from his Twitter tribute.

Earnshaw, who was born in Zambia before moving to Wales at the age of nine, enjoyed his most prolific season with Cardiff during the 2002-03 season, when he broke the club's scoring record by netting 35 goals in all competitions, 31 of which came in the league.

He went on to have spells at West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Blackpool and Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv, as well stints in MLS with Toronto FC, the Chicago Fire and Vancouver, with his transfer fees totalling £12.65 million.

Known for his trademark somersault celebration, he is the only player to score hat-tricks in all four English leagues, the League Cup, the FA Cup and at international level, and now begins a new chapter of his career as coach of the Whitecaps academy’s Under-14s.

“I'm excited and ready to move on to the next stage of my life,” said Earnshaw in a team statement. “I will miss being in the locker room with the guys but I look forward to the opportunity to share what I've learned and help mold the club's young prospects.

“I am forever thankful to all the people who have supported me throughout the years -- from my family, to my coaches, teammates, support staff, and of course the supporters.”

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch