Croatia co-captain Ivan Rakitić has decided to end his international career, the Croatian Football Federation announced on Monday.
Rakitić has played 106 games with the Croatian national team, scoring 15 goals.
“Saying goodbye to the Croatian team is the most difficult decision I have had to make in my career, but I feel that the time is right. I have enjoyed every single game that I played for my country and the unforgettable moments from the World Cup will always be among my most treasured memories,” Rakitić said in a statement released by the Federation.
The 32-year-old midfielder debuted with the national team in 2007, under coach Slaven Bilić. Among the Rakitić’s most memorable performances was when Croatia reached the 2018 World Cup final, losing 4-2 to France. He scored the decisive penalty in shootouts to beat Denmark and Russia in the first two knockout rounds.
“I am confident that we still have a great team that has a bright future. I wish my friends and teammates all the best in this world in their future challenges. I will be their biggest cheerleader,” Rakitić added.
Rakitic turned a new chapter in his career only three weeks ago. He is in his first season back at Sevilla, after six years with Barcelona.
“I am sorry that he will not continue to play with us, but I respect his decision, as was the case with Mandžukić, Subašić, and Ćorluka after the World Cup,” said coach Zlatko Dalić.
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