France forward Franck Ribery has announced his retirement from international soccer.
The 31-year-old missed this summer’s World Cup in Brazil due to a nagging back injury. The French forward followed an individual training program in the weeks leading up to the tournament but was unable to regain full fitness in time to join Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad.
Speaking to the German magazine Kicker, Ribery candidly spoke about his feelings on international retirement.
“I quit,” Ribery said. “I have found for myself that this moment has come.”
“I want to focus on my family and fully concentrate on my work at Bayern Munich and make way in the national team for the many young and exciting players,” he said.
“One has to know when to stop. I have experienced so much and now is the time for others to come forward. You could see at the World Cup that we should have no concerns about France’s future.”
“There were highs and lows but now is the time to start a new chapter in my life.”
Ribery finishes his international career with 16 goals and 81 caps.
He has been one of the star performers in Europe in recent years, winning four Bundesliga titles and one Champions League while with Bayern Munich.
Ribery came third in the voting for FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player in 2013, finishing behind Lionel Messi and winner Cristiano Ronaldo.