The former Chelsea defender Alex has been forced into retirement from football after suffering a knee injury.

The 34 year old Brazilian, who has played for AC Milan and Paris Saint Germain in the past, has been without a club since he left Italy over the summer. However, he had been linked with moves to Santos or Porto before making the decision to retire.

Speaking this week he said, “I’m retiring, I made the decision with my family.” He explained that if he wants to continue playing he would have to undergo further surgery and then spend around nine months in rehabilitation before he could play again and he thinks that he “just couldn’t put up with that pain.”

He described his current pain as “unbearable” and said that his injury has got worse. He has undergone testing which revealed that there is no cartilage remaining in part of his right knee which effectively ended his chances of being signed by another club.

Alex moved to Chelsea from Santos in 2004 but spent the next three years on loan to the Dutch side PSV Eindhoven where he won the Eredivisie title each season that he played there.

After the successful period in Holland he eventually made the move to Stamford Bridge in 2007 where he won the Premier League title, two FA Cups and helped the team reach the Champions League final in 2008.

In 2012 Alex was signed by Paris Saint Germain for £4.2 million and in 2012 he won the Ligue 1 title with the team before he left for the San Siro in 2014.

During his career he also won 17 caps for Brazil and he lifted the 2007 Copa America.