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Former Azkals stopper Cuaresma retires


Just as 2018 came to an end, Ref Cuaresma announced that his playing days draw to a close.

The Kaya Iloilo goalkeeper announced on Monday his retirement from football.

“They say it’s still young to stop, but it’s time to give way for the younger potentials who are hungrier and faster,” the 36-year-old Cuaresma said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

The 18-year veteran played for five clubs, getting the start at the poles.

Cuaresma started with Navy from 2001-2008, eventually witnessing the birth of the United Football League.

After a two-year break, he then played for Meralco Manila, which was then known by the names Smart San Beda and Loyola Meralco, from 2010-2014.

He also had a short stop at Manila Jeepney in 2014 before suiting up for Stallion Laguna until 2016.

He then found his way to Iloilo the following year, joining the club, which was then calling Makati its home, in time for the new Philippines Football League, which is now known as the Philippine Premier League.

He remained with the squad when it moved to Iloilo City, and he would call it a career as a champion as his squad won the Copa Paulino Alcantara on October 27.

He also had stints with the national team, especially in the current era under the Azkals moniker, but he made history during the pre-Azkals days when he, at age 17, was called up for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

“I would like to step down with pride and joy from competitive football,” Cuaresma said. (PNA)