Ron Vlaar has announced his retirement from football aged 35 after frequent struggles with injury in recent seasons. The Dutchman moved to Aston Villa for £5 million from Feyenoord in 2012. The giant centre half went on to make 79 appearances in three years at Villa Park before being released in 2015 after he rejected a contract offer from the club.
He started his career at AZ Alkmaar but made very limited appearances in his early years before moving to Feyenoord where he shone as he made 132 appearances in six seasons for the Rotterdam outfit. While at AZ he also gained a regular birth in the Dutch national setup, he made a total of 32 appearances for the Oranje including a World Cup semi final in Brazil.
He joined Aston Villa in 2012 in Paul Lambert's first season in charge as part of a new look, young side tried to make strides forward in the Premier League. Vlaar stood out as one of the stars in the squad alongside Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, and gained cult hero status amongst the Villa faithful.
His most successful spell at the club came in his final season as under Tim Sherwood, the Villains survived in the Premier League and reached an FA Cup final, beating Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool on route to the final. It wasn't to be however as in the final Vlaar and conceded four to Arsenal and were humiliated at Wembley.
The Dutchman left that summer for boyhood club AZ where he remained until his retirement, making 91 appearances in five years. He has now retired due to frequent injury troubles which have been a common theme throughout his career.
Villa fans have fond memories of 'Concrete Ron' and despite leaving the club on less than ideal terms, he still maintains a good relationship and cult-hero status with the fans.