Messi pays tribute to Aimar

Lionel Messi has paid tribute to Pablo Aimar, who announced his retirement from professional football on Wednesday.

The Argentina captain took to social media to celebrate Aimar’s 19-year career, which saw him play for the likes of River Plate, Valencia, Zaragoza and Benfica.

"Pablo Aimar, a great player and one of my idols, has just announced his retirement," Messi wrote on his official Facebook page.

"I wish you the best in the next stage of your life.

"Thanks for letting us enjoy your magic."

Aimar returned to boyhood club River Plate in May, 15 months after he was released by Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim.

However, the 52-time Argentina international decided to hang up his boots after failing to earn a spot in the squad for the semi-final stage of the Copa Libertadores.

He only made two appearances with the Buenos Aires-based club in his second stint due to injury problems.

(Picture: Leo Messi/Facebook)