Soccer-Real Madrid captain Nacho to leave club

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Final - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 1, 2024 Real Madrid's Nacho celebrates their first goal scored by Dani Carvajal REUTERS/Lee Smith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Real Madrid defender and captain Nacho is leaving after a 23-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, the LaLiga club said on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Spain international has won six Champions League titles with Madrid since joining their youth academy in 2001, as well as four LaLiga crowns, two Copa del Reys.

"Real Madrid announces that our captain Nacho has decided to end his career as a Real Madrid player," the Spanish club said in a statement.

"Real Madrid would like to express its gratitude and affection to Nacho, one of the great legends of our club.

"Nacho ends his career at Real Madrid as the captain who lifted the 15th (Champions League trophy) at Wembley, as one of the five players who have won six European Cups in the history of football and with the highest number of titles in the history of our club."

Nacho has been linked with a move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Qadsiah.

"Since he arrived at our youth academy as a child, Nacho has always been an example of improvement for everyone and he has received the affection, recognition and admiration of all madridistas," Real president Florentino Perez said.

"Real Madrid is and always will be his home."

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru;, editing by Ed Osmond)

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