Chelsea Women’s great Eniola Aluko has announced her retirement, bringing an end to a glittering playing career.

The forward spent a total of eight years at Chelsea, where she scored 68 goals in 158 appearances. She remains our all-time top scorer, three goals ahead of Fran Kirby.

In announcing the news this morning Aluko, who was most recently at Juventus in Italy, said:

‘Thank you football for everything you’ve given and taught me. Thanks for the full circle moments and the crazy unexpected journey. When we met I was just a girl from a council estate in Birmingham. I could never have imagined the crazy, unbelievable journey you would take me on.

‘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.

‘Whenever I have faced obstacles, you have shattered them. Whenever I have had great expectations, you have exceeded them.’

Aluko’s association with Chelsea goes back to 2007, when she spent a brief period with the club, but it was upon returning in December 2012 following spells in the US and at Birmingham City that the skilful attacker became part of the most decorated squad in our history.

As the team went from strength to strength under the guidance of Emma Hayes, so did Aluko. She was an integral part of our 2015 Double-winning side, playing in 25 of our 28 games in all competitions. In the first Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley, Aluko was named Player of the Match having laid on the only goal for Ji So-Yun.

Her contribution to a historic campaign was further highlighted when she was named the first Chelsea Women Player of the Year.

The following campaign she won the WSL Golden Boot, and in 2018 added another couple of winners’ medals to her extensive collection as we once again triumphed in league and Cup.

She left for Juventus that summer having won five major honours during her second stint at Chelsea. The exciting, speedy forward had also become a hugely popular figure with the supporters, who recognised the vital part she played in the team’s emergence as one of Europe’s best.

A figurehead in English football, too, Aluko played over 100 times for her country having debuted aged just 17, featuring at three World Cups and three European Championships. She also had the honour of representing Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012.

Everyone at Chelsea would like to congratulate Eni on a wonderful career and wish her the best in whatever comes next.