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Balotelli on compassionate leave

By ESPN Staff

Aberdeen's Hartley to retire

Aberdeen captain Paul Hartley has confirmed his retirement at the age of 34 after he decided his body was no longer capable of playing at the highest level.

Hartley, a former Celtic and Scotland midfielder had a year left to run on his contract. He has not played in recent weeks because of a knee injury - and his 27-minute appearance in a 2-1 win over St Mirren on March 16 will prove to be his final match in a career that also saw him play for Hamilton, Raith Rovers, Millwall, Hibernian, St Johnstone, Hearts and Bristol City.

Hartley told the Daily Record: ''I feel the time is right to stop being a footballer. My body just doesn't have the energy or power as it used to.

''I didn't want to reach a stage where I might embarrass myself on the pitch. I've too much professional pride. It would also have been unfair on my team-mates and Aberdeen supporters.''


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