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FIFA World Cup 2018: Russia's Yuri Zhirkov retires from international football

Yuri Zhirkov of Russia in action against Saudi Arabia during the FIFA World Cup 2018

Moscow, July 11: Russia midfielder Yuri Zhirkov has retired from international football, saying he "does not have enough energy to play at this level".

The 34-year-old was a stand-out performer as the World Cup hosts defied gloomy pre-tournament predictions to reach the last eight before bowing out to Croatia on a penalty shoot-out, a match Zhirkov missed due to concerns over a calf injury.

FIFA World Cup special page | Photo gallery

And he says now is the right time to take a step back having won 87 caps for his country.

He said: "I do not have enough energy to play at this level.

"The latest injury was the final signal. I've had no time for my family and children and this was another summer without a vacation.

"I would like to thank everyone who I played with, all the coaches, our fans and of course my family, who persuaded me to stay in the team long enough play to play at the World Cup. I am proud that I was lucky enough to represent my country at two World Cups and two European Championships."

The Russian national football team thanked Zhirkov for his commitment to the game. "Yuri Zhirkov announced his retirement from the Russian national team. Yuri, thank you for everything," the team posted on Twitter.

Zhirkov made his debut for Russia in 2005 and has scored two goals in 87 appearances for them. He was part of the tournament's best XI after the Euro 2008 for helping Russia reach the semi-finals. Zhirkov played in Russia most of his life for CSKA Moscow before moving to Chelsea in 2009-11. He has also played for Dynamo Moscow and is now part of the Zenit St Petersburg squad.

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 14:30 [IST]
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