Berlin: Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger on Friday announced his retirement from international football, ending a 14-year career that reached its peak with the 2014 World Cup triumph before persistent injuries forced the decision.
One of the best defensive midfielders of his generation, the 31-year-old represented Germany in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, where his team claimed bronze medals on both occasions.
Since making his debut in 2004, he scored 24 goals from 120 internationals — fourth highest cap-holder after Lothar Matthaus (150), Miroslav Klose (137) and Lukas Podolski (129).
“Dear fans of the Germany national team I have just asked the national team coach not to consider me any more for his national team selections in future since I would like to retire,” Schweinsteiger wrote on his Facebook account.
After thanking the fans, the German Football Federation, the coach and his team-mates, the Bayern Munich legend expressed his sadness at not winning Euro 2016.
“I was able to play 120 matches for my country and experience many indescribably brilliant and successful moments. Jogi Löw (national head coach) knew how much the 2016 European Championship in France meant to me, because I wanted to bring the title that we hadn’t won since 1996 back to Germany,” Schweinsteiger, whose side lost to Spain in the 2008 Euro final, said.
“It wasn’t to be and I have to accept that. We managed an emotional and historical success when we won the World Cup in 2014 and it is something that I won’t be able to do again in my career,” the Manchester United player added.
“That is why it is right and sensible to bring it to an end and wish the team all the best in qualification for the 2018 World Cup.”
Last year, he suffered a knee injury and struggled throughout the season at Man United before he regained fitness just in time for the 2016 Euro. He is also facing difficulties in keeping his place at United.
Overall, his 38 appearances at major international tournaments stands as the current world record. He also featured for Germany at the European Championships in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“Despite stepping down from the national team, I hope that I will be able to have a connection with it in one way or another, as it has been like a family to me,” Schweinsteiger, who earlier this month got married to Serb tennis star Ana Ivanovic, said.
“I would like to conclude with a message to the fans: “It was an honour to play for you, thank you for everything that we have been able to experience together!”