Former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko has announced his retirement from international football, in the aftermath of Ukraine's elimination from the 2012 European Championships. The news was confirmed by a report on Goal.com.
The legendary AC Milan player, who scored 127 goals in 226 appearances for the Italian champions, between 1999 and 2006, made his 111th appearance for Ukraine when he came on as a substitute in the co-host's final group game, against England. The 35 year old former captain of Ukraine was the winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2004 and admitted to wanting to play one last friendly before completely retiring.
"I just want to play one more game to say goodbye, just for my family and friends and all the fans who have supported me for many, many years. For everyone the time [to retire from football] comes," a BBC report quoted Shevchenko as saying.
In a glorious international career spanning 18 years, Shevchenko has scored 48 goals for the national team and is the country's leading goal scorer. The player also found remarkable success at club level, winning silverware with Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine (the league for an incredible five straight years, between 1995 and 1999, the Ukrainian Cup in 1995, 1998 and 1999, the Ukrainian Super Cup in 2011 and the CIS Cup between 1996 and 1998), Milan in Italy (the league, Champions League, Coppa Italia and UEFA Super Cup in 2003 and Italian Super Cup in 2004) and Chelsea in England (the League Cup and the FA Cup in 2007).
Shevchenko had a bit of a rough patch in his career when he transferred to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea for a fee of £30mn in the summer of 2006. The Ukrainian striker had a disastrous two seasons at Stamford Bridge before making a move back to Milan. The striker now has only a few weeks left on his contract with hometown club Kyiv and is expected to move to the US and the Major League Soccer.
He spoke on Ukraine's elimination from the European Championships and admitted to being disappointed especially after playing reasonably well.
"We deserved more today. We played well, created chances and of course scored a goal. It's difficult for us. We're out of the competition. That's the reality. [Scoring a goal] would have made a big difference. If we score we're buzzing and we'll maybe win a game. The referee was there, very close," said Shevchenko, according to a BBC report.
Nonetheless, the Ukrainian striker feels England will do well in the Euros.
"I congratulate England. Now England play against Italy after passing through a difficult group. I think England can reach the final, why not?" he added.