Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has announced that he will retire from international football to concentrate on playing for Real Madrid, the Dutch football association KNVB said on Tuesday.
“Having studied in detail the programmes of Real Madrid and the Dutch eleven, I realised that, given the physical effort required to perform at my maximum, I was going to have to make a choice,” van Nistelrooy said in a message to national coach Bert van Marwijk.
“The combination of the competition, cup and Champions League games of Real Madrid and the programme of the Dutch team is too heavy a burden.
“I have no other choice.”
The 32-year-old said he had not taken the decision lightly.
“Obviously such a decision is not something one takes in a night. I have experienced a great Euro 2008 with the Orange team, and I look back on it with fondness,” he added.
Van Marwijk said he respected Van Nistelrooy's decision.
“Of course, I find it a pity that I won't be able to call on his quality and international experience in putting teams together in the future.”
Van Nistelrooy started his professional football career at FC Den Bosch, making his international debut for the Netherlands in 1998 against Germany.
He played a total of 64 matches for his country, scoring 33 times.
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