Ibrahimovic, Cech quit but other stars leave future open after Euro

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech are the most prominent players who have ended their international career after Euro 2016 while a large number of others are leaving their future open.

Neither veteran goalkeepers Shay Given of Ireland and Iker Casillas of Spain nor Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger or Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky have revealed whether they plan to continue playing for their country or not.

Ibrahomovic announced before Sweden's last group game against Belgium that he would quit, and that game Sweden lost 1-0 was his last as he departed France as Sweden's record goal scorer with 62 in 116 caps, but no goal at Euro 2016.

"After 15 years it had to come to an end," the new Manchester United hiring Ibrahimovic said, while coach Erik Hamren readily admitted: "We’ll never find a new Zlatan. He is unique."

The 34-year-old Czech stalwart Cech meanwhile took two weeks before declaring the "definite" decision to quit as well after 124 games since 2002.

"I don't want to face a situation in which I have to say after half of (World Cup 2018) qualifiers that I am tired," Cech said.

Also quitting, more surprisingly, after the group exit was Austria captain Christian Fuchs from Premier League champions Leicester City, with family reasons reportedly the motive to end the international career at age 30.

"I did everything with pure passion and am very proud," Fuchs said in a short video message.

Spain could see the end of an era but neither the 35-year-old reserve man Casillas nor playmaker Andres Iniesta have said whether they will retire, just as national icon Xavi did after the poor 2014 World Cup campaign.

The same applies to Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, both on the team since 2004 with more than 100 caps each, after Germany's semi-final exit against France.

Podolski is nothing more than a reserve player while the 31-year-old Schweinsteiger remains a team leader but came to France from yet another long injury layoff.

"I was happy to be here at all," he said, adding that he hasn't thought about his future because "I tried to put all my energy into the tournament."

The even more injury-prone Rosicky is also yet to make a decision, just as 37-year-old Iceland legend Eidur Gudjohnsson and Ireland captain Robbie Keane.

Others meanwhile appear set to continue despite old age by footballing standards.

Italy's 35-year-old defender Andrea Barzagli had planned to quit but was convinced by new coach Giampiero Ventura to continue.

And French veteran Patrice Evra, also 35, appears set to play on even if France lift the trophy late Sunday, as he compares himself with some famous figures of the past who played until their late 30s or longer.

"My role models are (Javier) Zanetti, (Paulo) Maldini, (Ryan) Giggs. I am still young," Evra said.

Last update: Sun, 10/07/2016 - 12:25

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