Pablo Aimar has revealed he is to leave Benfica after five years in Lisbon.
Former Argentina international Aimar, 33, told Benfica TV he had spent “five wonderful years” with the club at which he won one league title but would now be moving on.
“It is a joy to have played at a massive club like this,” he said. “It was always special to play at the Estadio da Luz, regardless of the opponent or the competition.
“I want to register my thanks for the way everyone treated me, for how they made me feel. I will not forget the happiness that playing in a team like this has given me.
“I’m going to really miss Lisbon, and my family especially liked living here. I want to return, and my kids want to return to see their friends from school. They were five wonderful years.”
Aimar, who moved to Benfica in 2008 after seven years in Spain with Valencia and Zaragoza, said he has the “will to keep playing”. It is suggested he could return to Argentina, where he launched his career with River Plate.
The club’s president, Luis Filipe Vieira, said he expects Aimar to return once he has completed his playing career.
“Besides being a genius as a footballer, he was an example to us all as a human being,” he said. “He carried himself off the field as he carried himself on it. When he stops playing, the door is open for him to come back. I don’t know whether it will be a year or two, but certainly he will be back here before long.”