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Former Wales captain Ashley Williams announces his retirement

Wales v Republic of Ireland – UEFA Nations League – League B – Group 4 – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Former Wales captain Ashley Williams, who led his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, has announced his retirement.

The 36-year-old defender made more than 300 appearances for Swansea, was an ever-present as the club reached the Premier League for the first time in 2011, and also played for Everton, Stoke and most recently Bristol City.

Williams appeared 86 times for Wales and scored two goals, including the equaliser in the memorable 3-1 win over Belgium in the European Championship quarter-final in France.

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Williams said in a statement on Instagram: “After consideration of recent offers to continue playing, I would like to announce my retirement as a professional footballer.

“It has been an honour to play 741 games across all levels of the English football leagues and to represent some incredible teams.

“It has been an unbelievable journey and one I will look back on with my family and be immensely proud of. Starting from non-league to playing at the highest level in the Premier League, as well as representing my country on 86 occasions, was beyond my wildest dreams.

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“Captaining Wales in a semi-final (of the) European Championships in 2016 was my greatest achievement and something I will never forget.

“Football has taught me so much both on and off the field and I will take this with me into the next chapter. I look forward to still being involved in the game in the future.”