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Sat Apr 19 01:17:17 SAST 2014

Shevchenko to retire from international football

Simon Evans, Reuters | 20 June, 2012 09:510 Comments
England v Ukraine - Group D: UEFA EURO 2012
Andriy Shevchenko of Ukraine leaves the field during the Euro 2012 group D match between England and Ukraine at Donbass Arena on June 19, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine
Image by: Christopher Lee / Getty Images

Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko announced he will retire from international football after his country’s elimination from Euro 2012 with a 1-0 defeat by England on Tuesday.

Shevchenko, the finest player Ukraine has produced since independence from the Soviet Union, told reporters he intends to says his farewell in a friendly game before standing down from national team duty.

“It was my last official game for Ukraine. A bit later on I will arrange a farewell game to say goodbye to supporters.

“What are my plans now? I simply want to go home and put my arms around my kids and kiss my wife,” he said.

The 35-year-old, who is his country’s youngest and oldest goalscorer and record marksman with 48 goals in 111 appearances, started on the bench against England due to a knee injury.

Former AC Milan and Chelsea forward Shevchenko began the tournament in grand style with both goals in the co-hosts’s 2-1 comeback victory over Sweden.

Shevchenko was European Footballer of the Year in 2004, the first and only Ukrainian to win the award, and was Ukrainian Footballer of the Year on six occasions.

The striker’s current deal with Dynamo Kiev, the club where he began his career before moving to Milan, is due to expire in July and he has expressed interest in a move to North America’s Major League Soccer.

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said after the England defeat he was looking to younger players ahead of the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil which starts in September.

Shevchenko said he was pleased that Ukraine had the talent to continue to progress in the international game after a tournament where they held their own for large stretches against France and England before losing to both.

“I hope our supporters are happy with our performance. I am glad for our young players who played well tonight. This team has a bright future,” he said.

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