Andoni Iraola passes for NYCFC

New York City FC announced that midfielder Andoni Iraola retired on Thursday, bringing an end to a 16-year playing career and a one and a half season stint with NYCFC.

Iraola, 34, signed with New York on a free transfer from La Liga club Athletic Bilbao in June 2015, playing 40 games across all competitions with the club before Thursday’s announcement. Capable of playing as a midfielder or defender, Iraola was a key part of NYCFC’s squad this year, appearing in 29 regular season games – 25 starts – to help the club to their first playoff appearance.

“I would like to thank everyone inside and outside of the club who has made me feel at home from the very first moment,” Iraola told “I would especially like to thank my teammates who I have learned from until the last day but also all of the coaches, medical personnel, sporting staff and everyone inside the office who always help to make our lives easier.

“I would also like to thank our fans for their constant support, especially the support they give us when we least deserve it. I feel very privileged to have lived this experience – ever since the beginning of this club which will continue to grow.”

Iraola is the second veteran midfielder to leave NYCFC this winter, following last week’s announcement that Frank Lampard would be leaving the club.

The former Spanish national teamer began his career with Athletic Bilbao, graduating from the club’s academy and appearing in over 500 games in 12 seasons with the Basque club’s first-team before joining NYCFC last summer.