Marc Overmars has announced his retirement from football because of persistent injury problems.
The 31-year-old Dutch international, who was a member of Holland’s Euro 2004 squad, had one year left on his contract at Barcelona.
The former Arsenal and Ajax winger has been at Barcelona since 2000.
“My knee has caused me lots of problems and I can no longer continue to play at the level that I want,” he said.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta added: “We are enormously grateful for his sincerity and for the dignified act of the player.”
Overmars was a member of the 1995 Ajax team which won the Champions League before moving to the Premierhip, where he helped Arsenal to a Premier League and FA Cup double in 1998.
He became the most expensive Dutch player of all when he signed for the Catalan side for a fee of around £25m two years later. However, his form since moving to the Nou Camp has been disappointing and before announcing his retirement, Overmars had already been told that he was surplus to requirements at the club.
Nonetheless, he will always be remembered as a speedy, dangerous winger, who at his peak in the 1990’s was one of Europe’s most dangerous wide men.