Jeremy Mathieu’s decision to quit international football was due to a “lack of motivation” to represent France.
The Barcelona defender was initially included in Les Bleus’ squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Netherlands only to withdraw 24 hours later after a conversation with coach Didier Deschamps.
Mathieu has only won five caps for his country despite producing strong performances for Valencia and Barca over many years and he feels now is the time to put all his focus on his club career.
The 32-year-old told L’Equipe: “I thought quite a bit before ending my international career.
“I did not refuse the call up, it’s just that I wanted to stop. I do not have the motivation to continue. I want to devote myself to my club.
“I will be 35 in 2018 and I want to leave room for younger players.”
Mathieu was part of Deschamps’ squad for Euro 2016 but had to pull out due to a calf injury and was replaced by now club-mate Samuel Umtiti.
“I have no regrets,” he added. “It was not my decision to miss the Euros but there are worse things in life.”
Mathieu’s challenge over the coming season is to stave off the threat posed to his first-team place by Umtiti at Camp Nou.
“I will fight to the end and the coach will decide,” he said. “I have nothing against Samuel, he is a very good player.”
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