Ukraine legend Andriy Shevchenko has announced his retirement from football as he plans for a new career in politics.
It had been suggested that Shevchenko, 35, would sign a contract extension with Dynamo Kiev if the club reached the group stage of the Champions League, but he has now decided to bring down the curtain on an illustrious career.
"Recently, there has been a lot of talk that I could sign a new contract with Dynamo or play abroad," he said. "I can say, with confidence, that neither will happen. Perhaps this will shock everyone: I have decided to bring an end to my football career and to enter politics."
He vowed to reveal more details of his future plans in the imminent future. "I will make an official statement," he said. "I hope to have your support."
In his prime, Shevchenko had been one of the deadliest strikers in world football. He had risen to prominence when his partnership with Sergei Rebrov made Dynamo Kiev a European force in the 1990s, and a move to AC Milan in 1999 enhanced an already strong reputation.
Across two spells with the Rossoneri, he became the club's second highest scorer of all-time behind the great Gunnar Nordahl, with 175 goals in 322 appearances.
His career took a backwards step, however, with an ill-fated move to Chelsea in 2006, with the forward struggling to find his place at Stamford Bridge and eventually being allowed to move on, with a loan return to Milan in 2008 followed by a permanent return to Dynamo in 2009.
He is also by some distance the all-time leading scorer for the Ukraine national team, with 48 goals in 111 appearances. At the recent European Championship, Shevchenko had scored a brace in Ukraine's opening game in Kiev to inspire a 2-1 victory over Sweden.