Berlin, Aug 15 (IANS) Veteran Germany forward Lukas Podolski on Monday announced his retirement from international football, ending a 13-year career, to focus on his club football and family.
The 31-year-old made his international senior debut against Hungary at the age of 19 in June 2004. Podolski made immediately an impact and provided Germany 48 goals in 129 official caps to become a key player.
He also represented Germany in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, where his team claimed bronze medals on both occasions.
“I told the national coach that I will not play for the national team from now on. I want to take things easier and dedicate to other things — most obviously my family, my wife and my two kids,” Podolski said.
“The national team has always been my heart thing, and it will always be. But, after the EURO I noticed that my focus has shifted. Everything has its time, and my time with the national team is over.”
Podolski was part of Germany’ s 2014 World Cup winning squad. He never played the full 90 minutes but he was fielded when Germany needed more variation in their offensive game.
“48 goals in 129 international appearances speak for himself and his footballing qualities,” Germany chief coach Joachim Loew said.
“Together we have lifted the World Cup in Brazil. I have to thank him for his loyalty, his dedication and joy that he brought into the team.”
From now on, Podolski will only tie his shoes for the Turkish top-flight club Galatasaray, where he joined in July 2015 to score 13 goals in 30 competitive outings.
“It was a hard decision to make. For me, the Mannschaft always has been and always will be an affair of the heart. I feel a great deal of pride: what an amazing time it has been, all that we achieved in these twelve years — I lived my dream. We won so much with the team,” Podolski said.