Buenos Aires, March 29 (IANS) Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 31.
Higuain has not played for the Albiceleste since last year’s World Cup in Russia as manager Lionel Scaloni looks to revamp his squad for this year’s Copa America, reported Xinhua news agency.
“My cycle with the national team is finished,” the Chelsea player told Argentine television on Thursday. “A lot of people will be happy to know that, others maybe not so much.
“I’ve made the decision because I want to enjoy my family. I want to spend time with my daughter and at the same time I feel that I gave my country everything I could. I’m fully focused on my commitment to Chelsea.
“The Premier League is amazing and I really want to enjoy it. It’s very competitive indeed,” added the former Real Madrid and Napoli forward who joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus in January.
Higuain is sixth on the list of Argentina’s all-time top scorers with 31 goals in 67 matches in an international career that spanned a decade.
But he has been criticized for missing key scoring chances in the finals of the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.
“People remember the goals I missed and not the ones I scored. I’m sure everyone celebrated the goal against Belgium (the winner in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final),” he said.
“When you criticize someone maliciously, it hurts everyone. I saw how much my family suffered, but I gave everything for the national team. It’s one thing to say that the national team did not achieve our objectives, but when people talk about failure it’s very hard.”