By Jonny Leighfield
Oxford United’s Christian Ribeiro has been forced to retire at 27 due to a knee injury.
The defender has been told by specialists that his ability to walk later on in life may be affected if he continues playing.
The former Welsh international joined The U’s in June 2016 from Exeter but made just 17 appearances as he continued to struggle with a persistent knee problem.
Speaking to Oxford United’s website, Ribeiro said: “It has been really, really tough; the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
“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.
“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 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,” he said.
The former Bristol City trainee made 188 appearances throughout a career that began in 2008 and Oxford manager Pep Clotet told BBC Radio Oxford that although he only worked with the defender for a short time, he is confident Ribeiro will achieve success in whatever he chooses to do next.
“The fact he now has to put an end to his career based on a medical recommendation, it just shows how sometimes life is ruthless.
“One thing’s for sure, he’ll succeed in whatever he chooses to do in life. The amount of work he puts in made him earn everything that he has,” said Clotet.