Lukas Podolski retires from international football

Lukas Podolski has announced his retirement from international football. The Galatasaray forward saw limited action during this summer’s European championship in France.

Deutschland Fußball Länderspiel Deutschland vs. Ungarn in Gelsenkirchen - Lukas Podolski

The former Cologne, Bayern Munich and Arsenal player made the announcement in a statement posted via his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday.

“I have told the national team coach that effective immediately, I will no longer be available to play for the national team,” he said, adding that at the age of 31 he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The forward, who came up through Cologne’s youth system, scored 48 goals in his 129 appearances for the national team. This makes him Germany’s third-most capped player and their fourth-best goal scorer.

After getting his first call-up to the national team in 2004, he appeared in seven major tournaments, and was part of the 2014 German team that won the World Cup in Brazil. His last appearance came during Euro 2016 in France this summer, when he was brought on as a sub in Germany’s round-of-16 match against Slovakia.

“The decision was a difficult one,” Podolski said. “The national team was always and will always be close to my heart. Following the Euro (European championship in France) /vacation, I realized that my focus in life has shifted. There is a time for everything – and my time with the national team is over.”

The Polish-born Podolski, who also had a loan spell at Inter Milan, moved to the Istanbul side Galatasaray prior to last season.

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