West Bromwich Albion midfielder Michael Appleton has retired after losing a two-year battle to recover from a serious knee injury.
The 27-year-old ruptured posterior knee ligaments in a training ground accident in November 2001 with three operations failing to clear up the problem.
Appleton moved to Albion in a £750,000 deal from Preston in January 2001.
"This is one of the saddest days I've had as a manager," Baggies boss Gary Megson told the club's official website.
"Football can't afford to be losing a player of his ilk.
"Seeing any player have to finish his career through injury is a huge blow but losing a player with the character of Michael is a massive, massive blow."
Appleton made 202 career appearances, the last in a 1-0 win over Birmingham at St Andrews in November 2001.