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France's Anelka confirms international retirement

France striker Nicolas Anelka has confirmed his retirement from the international game having being handed an 18-match ban by the French Football Federation for his behaviour at the World Cup.

• Anelka slams 18-game ban

Anelka, 31, was at the centre of the well-publicised controversy in the French camp in South Africa and was sent home after clashing with coach Raymond Domenech at half-time in the 2-0 defeat to Mexico.

His ban was considerably more than the others handed out by the FFF - as bans of between one and five matches were given to Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery and Jeremy Toulalan for their part in the protests over Anelka's departure - and the Chelsea striker claimed at the time that he was left "doubled up with laughter" by the punishments from the French ''clowns''.

Anelka has now reiterated that the ban means the end of his international career and that he will never pull on the blue shirt of France again.

"I have retired officially. I am 100% sure that I will not return," the striker confirmed to France Soir. "There was no chance that I would return to the national team after what happened on June 19 in Knysna.

"If members had read the newspaper, they would have realised that I have turned a page. Anyway, I already play in Blue every weekend with Chelsea."

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