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Eniola Aluko: Ex-England, Chelsea & Juventus striker retires

Eniola Aluko helped Chelsea win the 2015 Women’s FA Cup in her second spell with the club

Former Chelsea and Juventus striker Eniola Aluko, who won more than 100 England caps, has retired.

Aluko, 32, left Juventus in December after nearly 18 months with the Serie A champions and had been tipped to return to the Women’s Super League.

She was also part of the Great Britain team at the London 2012 Olympics.

“Thank you football for everything you’ve given and taught me,” said Aluko on Twitter. “Thanks for the full circle moments and crazy unexpected journey.”

Aluko is England’s joint-10th most capped international, scoring 33 goals in 102 senior appearances.

But her last international appearance came in 2016 and, also that year, she made allegations of misconduct against then England boss Mark Sampson.

The Football Association apologised to Aluko in October 2017 for racially discriminatory remarks made by Sampson in 2014.

Aluko (right) helped England finish third at the 2015 World Cup in Canada

Writing in The Players’ Tribune, Aluko penned a “thank you letter” to football for the experiences it had given her during a playing career which began with Birmingham City in 2001.

“You have given me the dream of playing in the US, the pride of representing England, the thrill of winning titles with Chelsea, the adventure of playing for Juventus in Italy,” she said.

“Whenever I have faced obstacles, you have shattered them. Whenever I have had great expectations, you have exceeded them.”

Aluko, whose younger brother Sone plays for Reading, also added she was “content with her career” and hinted that she would remain involved in the game.

“There are a few things I did not achieve, but I know I can’t have it all,” said Aluko, who has also worked as a television pundit in the latter years of her playing career. “I took the hardest option every time, and I think I have been rewarded for it.

“I honestly believe women’s football will continue to hit an even higher level in the next few years. I want to do my part to make sure that happens.”

Aluko featured for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, facing Brazil at Wembley in front of more than 70,000 spectators

Aluko joined Juventus in June 2018 after a six-year second stint at Chelsea. She helped Juve retain their league title and Italian Supercoppa last term, having also won the Coppa Italia earlier in 2019.

Her career at Chelsea included winning two Women’s Super League titles and two FA Cup victories – a competition she also won with Birmingham City in 2012.

During her time in the USA, she played for Women’s Professional Soccer clubs St Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat and Sky Blue FC between 2009 and 2011.

She also played for Charlton between her first spells with Birmingham City and Chelsea.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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