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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 12:42 UK

Villa's Laursen forced to retire


Laursen applauded at news conference

Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen has announced his retirement after conceding defeat in his battle against persistent knee problems.

The 31-year-old former Denmark international suffered his latest injury against West Ham in December and has since made only one appearance.

"Five months ago I was flying, I was on top of my game," said Laursen, who made an unsuccessful return in March.

"But I can't recover from my injury - so I've got to retire."

Laursen, who made 91 appearances and scored 11 goals for Villa, admitted his decision was taken to help safeguard his long-term health.