Sadly for football fans across the globe, season of international retirement seems to be picking up. Last month, Argentina star forward Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football but later revoked his decision following fan pressure. Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who plies his trade for Manchester United, also followed the retirement bandwagon weeks later and decided to hang up his boots. And now, his ex-teammate Lukas Podolski is the latest German player to announce his retirement from international football. Both Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger made their debuts for Die Mannschaft back in 2004.
Podolski, who now plays for Turkish giants Galatasaray, made 129 appearances for his country at the international level and scored 48 goals. He was part of the squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, same as Bastian.
Bastian, on the other hand, made 124 appearances for his country and scored 24 goals. Podolski announced his retirement with a lengthy post on Facebook. Here is the full message:
”After twelve years and seven major tournaments, the time has come. I want to tell you today, that I have called Coach Löw to inform him, that I’ll not be part of the national team any longer. I’m at a point in my career where I want to cut it back a bit. Now, my focus shifts to other aspects. My club. My foundation. Obviously my family, my wife and my two kids.
”It was a hard decision to make. For me, the Mannschaft always has been and always will be an affair of the heart. I feel a great deal of pride: what an amazing time it has been, all that we achieved in these twelve years. It was an incomparable experience with so much joy, passion, emotion and togetherness. This two-year old boy, arriving in Germany with hardly more than a ball under his arm, winning the World Championship – I lived my dream. We won so much with the DFB-team. I have seen so many countries and cities, have met so many people, had so many unforgettable moments. It’s been quite a journey. Thanks to the DFB. Thanks to my fellow players. And heartfelt thanks to my coaches: Thank you, Rudi Völler. Thank you, Jürgen Klinsmann. And most of all, thanks Jogi Löw!
”My appreciation for all the fan support could not be greater. You guys have been amazing! You always kept the faith. You just never wavered, I could always rely on you. This connection has been so important for me. As I leave the Mannschaft, this is what I’ll miss the most: the closeness with the fans. For all and everything: Thank You! For the German team, my best wishes. Let’s defend this great title in 2018 and keep this marvelous trophy. Starting today, I’ll keep my fingers crossed – as one more fan of the Mannschaft.
”Take care. It’s been an honor.
‘‘Your number 10 Poldi”