Chester FC manager Steve Burr has confirmed Michael Kay has taken a hiatus from football for the foreseeable future.
The defender informed the club last month he was considering a career change and, following talks with the manager, has said his farewells to the squad.
His last appearance came in the 2-1 defeat at Forest Green Rovers on October 31. The 26-year-old featured 84 times for the club, scoring twice.
Although he has indicated his decision is final, Kay has been told to contact the club should he change his mind.
Burr said: "We had a meeting with Michael a couple of weeks ago and he's decided to take a break from football
"He's looking at pursuing another career outside the game and we respect that. We've wished him well in whatever he wants to do and if he decides to change his mind further down the line then we're here to talk to him.
"He's a good footballer and a great lad to have around the place. He always worked hard in training but he feels now at the age he is and where he is that he's looking for a career away from football."
Kay, who hails from Consett, started out with Sunderland and had loan spells with Gateshead and Tranmere Rovers.
He made one first-team appearance for the Mackems before making a permanent switch to Prenton Park at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Neil Young brought Kay to Chester in 2013 and made 30 league appearances with his form at the tail end of the campaign leading to a new 12-month deal.
The centre-back featured 38 times last term and signed another a further extension in the summer but has now decided to step back from the game.
Once the situation arose, Burr loaned Alex Whitmore from Burnley to strengthen his defensive options and will consider bringing in a defender on a permanent basis when the transfer window opens.
Burr confirmed on-loan forwards Calum Dyson and Jamie McDonagh have returned to parent clubs Everton and Sheffield United but is content with the balance of his squad for now having brought in Danny Hattersley and Ryan Lloyd last week.
He said: "At this time of the year we get suspensions coming in and we'll lose Ben Heneghan this weekend. Young Alex has come in and done well and Ian Sharps comes back this weekend but we have only got the three centre halves.
"Calum has been recalled to Everton and Jamie has gone back to Sheffield United but we've obviously brought Alex in along with Danny and Ryan.
"We'll be looking at the squad when the transfer window opens to see where we are and how we've progressed and if we need to move things around again then we will do."