Oxford United’s Welsh international defender Christian Ribeiro is to retire from football due to a knee injury.
Christian, 27, has made 17 appearances for the U’s since joining from Exeter City in 2016 and told us why he has had to make such a difficult decision:
“It has been really, really tough ; the hardest decision I have ever had to make. But I have to do what is right in the long term and therefore, sadly, I am going to have to hang up my boots. I have always given my all for the team throughout my career but unfortunately over the past couple of months since incurring an issue, I knew that something wasn’t right. I was playing in severe pain and really struggling to recover. The medical team here have been brilliant but eventually it got to the stage where I had to see a specialist and unfortunately the damage was worse than we had hoped.
“Retiring at 27 was something I never expected but I couldn’t have asked for a better club to finish my playing career at. From the Chairman right through the coaching staff and my fantastic teammates, everyone has been so supportive. I want to thank you all sincerely for that. I hope everyone involved goes on to achieve great success through their careers.
“There have been many highs and lows since I started playing, with so many great memories. The opportunity to represent my country being right up there at the top, and I will always treasure those. At the same time, I now move on to a new chapter and must figure out what I do next. I have a number of options to deliberate over before making the next step and to start again.”
Oxford United Manager Pep Clotet said:
“It is a very sad day for Christian. I have only had a chance to work with him for a very short time but he is a fantastic professional, a really good player and I know this is a decision that he has not taken lightly. He remains part of the Oxford United family and as a club we will offer him help and support in whatever he does next.“
Chairman Darryl Eales said
“Christian is both a fine footballer and an impressive young man and we all wish him well as he now weighs up future career options. Knowing Christian as I do, I am sure he will quickly put the sadness and disappointment behind him and will be equally successful in his chosen path. The club will be on hand to assist in every way possible and, it goes without saying that he will always be a welcome guest at the club”