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Ex-Middlesbrough and Sunderland star Julio Arca finally retires from football

Julio Arca

The Argentine utility man, who made 362 appearances for Sunderland and Middlesbrough across the Premier League and the Championship, has decided to hang up his boots.

After retiring from football in 2013 with a foot injury, Sunderland's 2011 player of the year returned to semi-professional football in September 2015 and enjoyed a fruitful stint at Northern Premier League side South Shields. There, he's won three league titles, three promotions and six trophies. He captained them to FA Vase glory at Wembley last year.

Arca was Gareth Southgate's first ever signing as a manager at Boro, where he won the players' player of the year award in 2010/11. 

South Shields chairman Geoff Thompson said: "Julio has been an inspirational figure since joining the club almost three years ago.

"He has played a key role in transforming the club's fortunes and provided some unforgettable moments, and we cannot thank him enough for his incredible efforts.

"Everyone at the club hoped he would be able to continue his playing career for one more year, but we are fully respectful of his decision, which has been made for family reasons.

"He ends his playing days having won a league title in each of his three seasons here, and departs with his powers undimmed."

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