GEELONG captain Cameron Ling has announced his retirement from AFL football just days after leading the Cats to a grand final victory over Collingwood.
Debuting against Port Adelaide in 2000, Ling would amass 246 games for the Cats, was voted the club's best and fairest in 2004 before being named in the All Australian team in 2007.
Ling said retiring was a tough decision to make but one he had been contemplating for some time.
"I really seriously made up my mind over the last few days," Ling said.
"I had an idea of what I was maybe going to do at the end of the season for the last month or so but I suppose it's the nature of my personality and a lot of our personalities that we're just so focused on the moment and what we're trying to achieve that any of that sort of stuff is pushed to the back of my mind.
"I've been a bit humbled and very pleased with the fact that so many people have said, 'Play on, you should play on, you've still got something to offer, you've had a terrific season, you did this, you did that'.
"I do know I'm 100 per cent certain that I'm finished and therefore I'm content with everything I've done and it's nice to know I finished on a real positive and a real high, and I supposed finished with being able to contribute something to the footy club."
Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said there was no doubting Ling's position in the club's history.
"Cameron Ling will go down as an all time great club of the club," Cook said.
"Cameron has always supported the club and has been a major part of the success that we have enjoyed over the past few years.
"He has played many roles and been a key part of our leadership group since he was 22 years old. Cameron has set a bench mark for others to follow at our club. He is competitive, courageous, strong, decent, never gives in, absolutely tenacious, value based, a tagger and a bloody good left foot kick".
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