Kolkata: After playing with aplomb for more than a decade, star forward Jose Ramirez Barreto on Wednesday announced his decision to bid goodbye to his `favourite` football club Mohun Bagan.
"Time has come to leave the club. Though nobody had planned it, but it had to be someday. It has been (a) real pleasure to play so many seasons for my favourite club," said the Brazilian, who debuted for the club in 1999.
"There have been moments of joy, pressure and sadness and the club was with me always. I really thank the club for the wonderful love affair we had. I also thank the supporters who remained with me in my thick and thin," he said.
Barreto, who left the club in 2004 to play for Malaysian club Pennang FC and Mahindra Untied, rejoined Mohun Bagan in 2006 and went on to score 200 goals donning the green and maroon jersey - the only player in Indian football history to achieve this feat with one club.
"I am very emotional and all my decisions are guided by my emotions… some have been correct some not. Injuries have certainly played a part in coming to the decision, said Barreto about his decision to bid adieu to Mohun Bagan.
The playmaker refused to talk about his future plans, but said he will continue to stay in the city.
"I think I have it in me to continue playing for some more time, but have not decided on the club I will play for. And of course I will continue to stay in Calcutta (Kolkata) which has taught me a lot."
He described his first season with the club as the most memorable.
The club has decided to treat its May 6 match against Pune FC as his farewell game and has lined up celebrations for the star`s swansong.
Barreto, with his family, would be driven around the Salt Lake stadium in an open jeep and felicitated by state sports minister Madan Mitra. The club was also contemplating preserving his jersey at the tent.
"I have no regrets. I have always given 100 percent for the club. If mistakes happened they happened… You cannot change them now. Past is past," were the parting words of star footballer.