Ezequiel Lavezzi ready to retire following Chinese Super League exit
Former Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi has told Chinese media that he is not only ready to say goodbye to China after four years but that he is considering retiring from football altogether.
Lavezzi signed for Hebei China Fortune in February 2016 and played his last home game for the club on Wednesday, scoring his 35th Chinese Super League goal in a 3-1 loss to Guangzhou Evergrande after a Paulinho brace put the league leaders in control.
"It is not 100% certain but the next game will probably be the last of my football career," the former Argentina international said after the defeat.
"I am considering retirement. I want to spend time with my family."
Arriving at the height of Chinese spending on international stars almost four years ago, Lavezzi, who reportedly cost Hebei €5.5 million from PSG, has been one of the more successful famous imports despite publicly apologising in May 2017 after he was photographed making a racist gesture.
The 34-year-old has made 75 league appearances for Hebei, who are currently 12th in the 16-team league, scoring 35 goals and making 26 assists.
"I was happy during my four years in China," Lavezzi added. "I want to thank the club, I want to thank China and I want to thank the fans for the way they treated me and supported me in the past four years. I hope that my performance was good enough for them."
Former Barcelona and Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano also bade farewell to Hebei fans on Wednesday.
Mascherano, who signed for the club in January 2018, is returning to Argentina to sign for Estudiantes de La Plata.
Both will play their last games in China on the final day of the season on Sunday as Hebei travel to Wuhan Zali.