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World Cup will be Koscielny swansong

Paris (AFP) – Laurent Koscielny will retire from the France team after the 2018 World Cup, making way for a new generation of players, the Arsenal centre-back said on Tuesday.

“I’m starting to get a bit old at 32. With Sam (Umtiti of Barcelona) and the others in their twenties and on the lookout, the time has come,” Koscielny told a press conference at the French team headquarters.

“It’s an important decision. I have done my bit for France, but I have six months left to make the most of it and to make sure I leave with good memories,” he said.

In defence, France coach Didier Deschamps can usually count on Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, 24, and the 23-year-old Umtiti, who made his debut at Euro 2016, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe, 22, leads a host of other youthful contenders for places in the back line.

“There are five or six of us oldies hanging on, who have different tastes in music to the young ones, we’re not exactly old ourselves,” added the 49-times capped Koscielny.

France face Wales in Paris on Friday and travel to Cologne to play world champions Germany on November 14 as part of their build up to next year’s finals in Russia.

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