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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 8 hours ago
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Jun 19, 2013

Pienaar won't make international return

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar has ruled out a return to international football, despite admitting that quitting was a painful decision.

Pienaar brought his career with the South Africa national side to an end last October in order to allow him to concentrate on playing for his club.

The decision benefited Everton, for whom the 31-year-old had a fine season as the club finished sixth in the Premier League.

And Pienaar believes it has helped him off the field too, allowing him to spend time with his family during international breaks.

"Retiring from the national team hurt me, but it was a decision I had to make. And I will have to live with it forever," the former Bafana Bafana captain, who won 61 caps for his country, told South African newspaper The Star.

"I'm 31, turning 32 next year, so I don't think I will come back. I'm a man of my word and to be honest, my family is very important to me, my kids, I'm happy to spend my time with my them.

"When there is an international break, I can go on holiday with my kids and that's important to me. "It's something I have never had for 15 years and now that I do have it, I'm enjoying it and it feels good.

"My mom was upset that I retired because she won't get to see me play again, but I stand by my decision and no one will force me back into the team. That's just the kind of person I am."

The 2010 World Cup hosts thought their hopes of reaching next year's finals in Brazil had been ended by a 2-1 defeat to Ethiopia on Sunday, but they may be thrown a lifeline if Ethiopia are handed a points deduction after they admitted fielding an ineligible player earlier in the campaign.

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