Germany forward Lukas Podolski has confirmed his retirement from international football with immediate effect.
Podolski, who plays at club level with Galatasaray, suggested in January 2015 that Euro 2016 would be his final major tournament with the national team.
The 31-year-old was included in Joachim Low’s team and made his only appearance in the 3-0 victory over Slovakia in the group stage.
Germany exited the competition with a 2-0 defeat to France in the semi-finals, and Podolski has disclosed he informed the coach of his decision to step away from the international stage.
“Before the season and the matches start again soon, I wanted to communicate something to you [the fans]: I told the national team coach that I will not play for the team with immediate effect,” wrote Podolski in a social media post.
“I [will] dedicate myself more to other things. Most, of course, my family. I am sure they will not complain if I have more time for them in future.
“The national team has always been a matter of the heart, and they always will be. But after the Euro/vacation I felt that my focus has shifted. Everything has its time – and my time with the DFB [national team] is over.”
Podolski made his Germany debut under Rudi Voller in a 2-0 friendly loss against Hungary in 2004, going on to make 129 appearances and score 48 goals for his country.
The forward was named Best Young Player at the 2006 World Cup on home soil and was included in the Team of the Tournament for Euro 2008.
Podolski’s career highlight came in Brazil in 2014, however, when Germany were crowned world champions at the Maracana, and he thanked everyone who helped him through his international career.
“For me this is a very emotional farewell. I am proud of what I experienced with the DFB. Nothing can replace what it gave me, the team cohesion, joy and passion,” he continued.
“From a two-year-old Polish boy, who came to Germany with only a ball under his arm, to a world champion – it is more than I could have dreamed of.
“Thanks to the DFB. Thanks to the team behind the team! Thanks to my team-mates. And thank you to the coaches. Thank you Rudi Voller. Thank you [former Germany coach] Jurgen Klinsmann. And especially: thank you Joachim Low!
“The biggest thankyou: to the fans who always stood by me, even in bad times. The connection between you and I was extremely important to me.
“I wish the team a successful future. I will have my fingers crossed from now on, as a big fan of this great team. It was an honour for me.”
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