His last match was the Lions' test draw against the All Blacks in June 2017. He has been the most successful British and Irish Lions captain of recent times, and personally I feel he was right up there with the very best Lions captains of all time alongside Willie John McBride, Martin Johnson, Paul O'Connell and the other who I think was always underrated, Finlay Calder.
"I would like to make special mention of Warren Gatland".
The back row forward holds the record for most Wales caps as captain and also skippered the Lions as they triumphed in South Africa in 2013.
The former Wales captain led his country to a historic Grand Slam triumph in 2012 and appeared four times in the Championship-winning campaign the following year.
Wales and Lions head coach Warren Gatland claimed Warburton should be "extremely proud" of what he achieved in his career.
He returned to training with the Blues this summer after missing the whole of last season, but has now made the decision to call it a day. None more so than fans of Welsh rugby who have lost their hero in the form of Sam Warburton.
Sam Warburton's retirement should serve as a wake-up call for rugby, says the head of the global players' union.
Just two months later he made his worldwide debut against the United States of America in Chicago and in February 2010 made his Six Nations debut at the Millennium Stadium - a 31-24 victory over Scotland.
'He finishes with a record that he should be extremely proud of and should look back on his career with huge pride'. The New Zealand media were mightily impressed by him, and rightly so.
"I hope he can take the time to reflect on a magnificent career and I hope he gets as much pleasure from whatever he does next as he has brought to the people of Wales and the wider rugby public".
"Sam has left the jersey in a better place, which is the goal I know most, if not all, Welsh players set themselves". The way that Sam has conducted himself as Wales and Lions captain, on and off the pitch, has been exemplary.
"Not only is he a great player but a great man - a true Cardiffian, a gentleman and a role model to all of us".