Chris Baird announces retirement from football

Former Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird has announced his retirement after 18 years as a pro footballer.

Baird performed for Southampton and Fulham within the Premier League and was last gambling for Derby within the Sky Bet Championship last season.

The 36-year-old, who won 79 caps for his country, launched a statement on Thursday confirming his resolution to retire with prompt effect.

"After 18 years as a professional, the time has come for me to hold up my boots," Baird said.

"It has been certainly one of the toughest decisions I've ever needed to make to retire from the recreation I love and that has given me so much.

"Looking to the future, I desire to remain concerned within the recreation in a few means and I will now seem in any respect the thoughts to see what I can do subsequent after putting up my boots."

Baird was facet of the Southampton squad that reached the FA Cup last in 2003 and in addition featured within the Fulham staff that made it to the Europa League last seven years later.

The right-back had a 13-year profession together with his country, that climaxed with an appearance the 2016 European Championships in France.

"Playing in an FA Cup last with Southampton was anything I all of the time dreamed off and to attain the Europa League last with Fulham was anything that may reside with me forever," Baird added.

"Qualifying and going with Northern Ireland to Euro 2016 is absolutely certainly one of the highlights of my profession and I am certain it's nonetheless talked about by means of way of all of the GAWA (green and white army)."