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By ESPN Staff

Bolivia left shocked as Botero retires

Bolivian Joaquin Botero has retired from international football despite scoring a hat-trick against Argentina on his last appearance.

The 31-year-old made his decision for personal reasons and refused a request to play on until the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

He struck three times in the stunning 6-1 triumph over Argentina on April 1, but has informed coach Erwin Sanchez he will no longer be available to the national team.

"I firstly told Carlos Aragones (national squads co-ordinator). Erwin (Sanchez) and the FA did not expect it. The boss asked me to play until the end of the qualifiers, but I told him my reason and he respected my decision," Botero told newspaper La Prensa.

"I am not very motivated in this phase of my career and I think that leaving space for a youngster is the best thing to do. I want to clarify that I gave my last drop of sweat for my country."

The Mexican Correcaminos striker made his Bolivia debut in 1999 and scored 20 goals in 47 internationals.

"My departure is final and I think I gave my best always," Botero added.

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