Former Gunner, Lukas Podolski, has announced his retirement from international football.
The German international decided to call it a day at the age of 31. He started playing for the Germany u17s 15 years ago in 2001 and has since gone on to make 129 appearances for the senior squad.
Although he only played once during Euro 2016, he was always there to pick up the players, most notably Mesut Ozil, and was always a fan favourite.
The striker announced his retirement via his social media, saying that it was a difficult decision but he feels his focus has shifted and he needs to spend more time with his family.
The Galatasaray man thanked the fans and admitted that this is an emotional time for him.
His statement translates (roughly) as follows:
before start the season and the matches again soon, I wanted you to communicate something: I told the national coach that I will not play immediately for the national team. I step shorter and dedicate myself more other things. Most of course my family. I am sure that they will not complain if I have more time for them in future. And it I am very pleased.
The decision has pleased me very hard. The national team has always been my heart thing, and they always will be. But I felt after the Euro / vacation that my focus has shifted. Everything has its time – and my time at the DFB’s over.
For me this is very emotional farewell. I am proud of what I experienced with the DFB. Nothing can replace me, which I gave to the German team to joy, passion and cohesion time. From two-year Polish boy who came to speak, only with a ball under his arm to Germany, the world champion – that’s more than I have dreamed about.
With the DFB I celebrated in the square great success. But not only that. I’ve seen around the world Countries and cities, have experienced off the field much. I met great people and many friends. It was just gorgeous.
Thanks to the DFB. Thanks to the team behind the team! Thanks to my teammates. And thank you coach. Thanks Rudi Voller. Thanks Jürgen Klinsmann. And especially: Thanks Joachim Loew!
The biggest thank you: Your fans have always stood by me, even in bad times. On you I could ever leave me, the connection between me and you was extremely important to me. If I go now, is me exactly the most missing: the proximity to Euch. I hope I could you give back a part of what I got from you! For all: many thanks!
I wish the team a successful future – the pot will go to Germany in 2018. I will from now fingers crossed – as a big fan of this great team.
Take care! It was an honor for me!
Your number 10 Poldi.”
In club football, Poldi is doing pretty well in the Turkish League. Last season he scored 13 goals in 30 appearances (nine assists) and although his style of play wasn’t quite right for Arsenal, it’s brilliant to see him doing well elsewhere.