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Schweinsteiger says 'Auf Wiedersehen' to international duty

Bastian Schweinsteiger was a mainstay in the Germany midfield for more than a decade.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was a mainstay in the Germany midfield for more than a decade. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Germany skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement on Friday from international football.

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The 31-year-old Manchester United midfielder won his 120th cap in Germany's 2-0 defeat to France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

He revealed his decision on his official Twitter account. "I have just told the national head coach Joachim Loew to no longer consider me for selection in the future as I would like to retire," he wrote. "I would like to thank the fans, the team, the German Football Association and the coaches.

"In 120 internationals, I have been allowed to run out for my country and experience moments which were undescribably beautiful and successful."

"Winning the 2014 World Cup was an historic and emotional moment for us, which will not be repeated again in my career," he added. "Therefore, it is the right time and sensible to finish now and to wish the national team all the best for the qualifying stage and the 2018 World Cup.

Tributes flooded in for the former Bayern Munich player. "With Bastian Schweinsteiger, we are saying goodbye to a big name from the national team," said German Football Association president Reinhard Grindel.

"On a personal and sporting level, I want to say thanks for 12 trust-filled years," said Loew. "On each occasion, I had the feeling he gave everything for the national team and strongly identified with our values and goals. As a coach, I benefited a lot from him and can only thank him for everything he has done for me."

Thomas Mueller, a potential replacement as Germany captain, said: "Thanks for 120 internationals and many awesome moments, hours for the national team."

Germany's most capped player, Lothar Matthaeus, who made 150 appearances and captained the 1990 World Cup winning team, added: "Congratulations on a big career with the Germany team. What a fantastic player."

Schweinsteiger retires from Die Mannschaft - as the germany national team is nicknamed - with his Old Trafford future in doubt. He and eight other players are believed to be on a hit list drawn up by the new manager Jose Mourinho. Their departure will pave the way for the 120 million euro arrival of the Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba.

Reflecting on an international career in which he played in three World Cups and four European championships, Schweinsteiger said one of his big regrets was the recent semi-final defeat to France.

"Jogi Loew knew what the Euro 2016 in France meant to me, the title I absolutely wanted to win, which hadn't been brought to Germany since 1996," he lamented.

"It wasn't to be and I have to accept that."

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