Gurpegi set to hang up his boots

Athletic Bilbao stalwart Carlos Gurpegi has declared his intention to retire at the end of the season after 18 years with the Basque club.

The 35-year-old is a product of Bilbao's famed Lezama academy and was handed his first-team debut in March 2002 against Villarreal.

Gurpegi, who was suspended for two years after testing positive for a banned substance in 2002, has gone on to make 393 appearances in all competitions for Los Leones and contributing 22 goals.

However, the veteran defender feels the time has come to bring the curtain down on his playing career after almost two decades at San Mames.

"I consider it's the perfect moment to retire, but it hasn't been an easy decision, because I love my profession," Gurpegi said.

"It has been a huge pleasure belonging to this club, I am very thankful for the 18 years as player."