Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from international football.
Three weeks after Germany were knocked out of Euro 2016 following a semi-final loss to France, the Manchester United midfielder has said he is stepping down as captain of the national team and ending his international playing career.
The 31-year-old said on his Twitter page: “Dear fans of the Germany national team. I have just asked the national team coach not to consider me any more for his national team selections in future since I would like to retire.”
Schweinsteiger, whose final game for Joachim Low’s team was the 2-0 defeat to France, was capped 120 times by his country and scored 24 goals.
He became captain after Philipp Lahm retired following the 2014 World Cup, which he won as vice-captain.
His record with Germany, for whom he debuted in June 2004 in a 2-0 defeat to Hungary, reads 81 wins, 19 draws and 20 defeats.
His international CV includes two third-place World Cup finishes and a runners-up spot at the 2008 European Championship and he reached the semi-final of every major tournament he was involved in.
He added: “My thanks go to the fans, the team, the DFB (German Football Association), the coaches and the Germany national team.
“I was able to run out 120 times for my country and experience moments which were indescribably beautiful and successful.
“Jogi Low knew how much Euro 2016 in France meant to me because I desperately wanted to win this title, which we have not been able to bring back to Germany since 1996.
“It wasn’t to be and I have to accept this.
“By winning the 2014 World Cup, we did something historic and also achieved something emotionally which will never be repeated again in my career.
“Therefore it is only right and sensible to call it a day now and wish the team all the best for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and for the final tournament.
“With this retirement, I am leaving the national team which has always been a valuable family to me. I hope that this bond will remain in one form or another.
“To finish with, I would like to say to the fans ‘it was an honour to be able to play for you, many thanks for everything I was able to experience with you!’ Yours, Bastian Schweinsteiger.”