Former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Andrea Orlandi has had to retire at the age of 34 after discovering he has heart disease.
Orlandi is currently contracted to Italian Serie C side Virtus Entella, but has been made to prematurely call time on his career after problems detected in a recent medical.
Speaking on his retirement Orlandi said, “I felt like this was coming after I had the medical but until it was made official I still had that glimmer of hope.
“Sadly it is not safe for me to play on and I was devastated when the doctor broke the news. However, I am coming to terms with it quite quickly and am so thankful to all the medical staff who have helped me.
"I could have had an operation to try and carry on playing, but at 34 it would have been risky and stupid to do so. I have to think about my future more than football now.
“The truth is I could have died during my career, so I must look at the bright side that I am still here with my wife and kids and that I enjoyed many years playing the game I love.
“It is still very early so I have not planned my next step yet. For now, I will enjoy some time with my wonderful family.”
During a two-year spell with Albion, Orlandi made 45 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring seven times as he helped the club to two successive play-off semi-finals.
Orlandi was one of many Spanish-speaking players at the club in this period, where he formed a close bond with Leo Ulloa, Bruno, David Lopez, Vicente and his best friend, Inigo Calderon.
He added, “I had a special five years at Swansea but my two years at the Albion were the greatest of my career.
“It was a fantastic group of players and some of my best friends in life were at the club at the same time. It made those wins extra memorable when enjoying them alongside true friends at a tremendous club.
“My first season was the best I have ever played personally and I absolutely loved the city of Brighton. I have missed the place ever since I left and hopefully I will get the chance to come and visit soon.”
Before joining the Seagulls, the Spaniard started life in Spain with Alaves and then Barcelona B, eventually making one La Liga appearance for Barcelona on the final day of the 2005/06 season.
In 2007 the bilingual midfielder headed to the UK in search of first-team football, joining welsh outfit Swansea, and was part of the 2010/11 side that clinched promotion to the Premier League.
Orlandi’s highlight with the Swans was his goal after 25 seconds against Wolves in the Premier League, before he left for the Seagulls after five years at the Liberty Stadium.
Following his departure from the Amex, Orlandi went on to play for Blackpool, Cypriot sides Anorthosis Famagusta and Apoel Nicosia and Italian outfit Novara Calcio.
He also joined former Albion teammate Inigo Calderon at Indian side Chennaiyin before returning to Italy with Virtus Entella.