London - Former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has been forced to retire after discovering he has a heart condition that can cause sudden death.
The 37-year-old Spaniard hoped to join Serie A club Cagliari on a free transfer from English Championship (second division)side Watford, but medical tests found he suffers from apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart disorder.
"Manuel Almunia has had to retire after being diagnosed with a heart condition," the English Professional Footballers' Association said in a tweet. "All at the PFA wish him well for the future."
Cagliari's spokesman Alessandro Steri was quoted in the media as saying: "I can confirm that Manuel Almunia failed a medical due to a heart condition.
"Further tests have revealed he is suffering from an apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy."
Almunia joined Arsenal from Celta Vigo in 2004. He played 175 games for Arsenal, including a substitute appearance in the 2006 Champions League final.
He left Arsenal for Watford in 2012.