Valdes, who has not had a club since leaving Middlesbrough at the end of last season, was rumoured to have retired in August, but those reports were never confirmed nor denied.
But on January 1, the Spaniard tweeted 'thanks for everything' alongside a picture of a road. His Twitter account has since been deleted, while his Instagram account has been made private with every image he had ever posted also removed.
It fulfils a promise that Valdes made in an interview with Catalan broadcaster RAC1 in 2015, during which he expressed hope that 'when the light does go out, it will be hard to find me'.
In the same interview he spoke of his desire to spend time with his children and teach them 'about life', suggesting he has little intention of ever returning to football or the media spotlight.
Set to celebrate his 36th birthday later this month, Valdes retires as one of the most decorated goalkeepers of his generation.
After establishing himself as Barcelona number one in time for the 2003/04 campaign, the Catalan-native won six La Liga titles with his boyhood club, as well as two Copa del Rey trophies, three Champions Leagues and two FIFA Club World Cups.
He was also a World Cup and Euro 2012 winner with Spain as a backup to Iker Casillas.
After a serious knee injury in early 2014 ended his Barcelona career, Valdes moved to Manchester United as a free agent in January 2015 after several weeks training with the club. It marked a reunion with Louis van Gaal, the man who had handed the player a first-team debut for Barça back in 2002, but things later turned sour following a disagreement between the two.
From there, Valdes spent time in Belgium on loan with Standard Liege, eventually playing his final season of professional football with Middlesbrough in 2016/17, a campaign that ultimately ended in relegation from the Premier League.