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Oct 24, 2011

Vidic retires from international football

Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has confirmed his retirement from international football in the wake of Serbia's failure to qualify for next summer's European Championship.

Vidic, 29, has established himself as one of the world's finest defenders since moving to United five years ago, though it was with Serbia that he first attracted the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson when playing in the defence that conceded just one goal in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

But the former Spartak Moscow centre-back has decided to bring down the curtain on his international career, citing criticism of his commitment to the national team and a desire to give younger players the opportunity to play for Serbia as the major factors.

"The main reason for this decision is that for a long time, especially in light of recent events, the media and therefore the public, have criticised my attitude towards the national team. Even though I played for the national team injured," Vidic said.

"Also, I do not want to be a burden for the new generation of players. I owe gratitude to the fans, all the selectors and coaches and teammates with whom I worked in the past ten years."

Vidic made his international debut against Italy in 2002 and has played 56 times for Serbia since then, representing his country at the 2010 World Cup.

An Serbian Football Federation statement read: "The Football Association of Serbia wishes to thank Nemanja Vidic for everything he has provided for Serbian football, especially playing for the national team.

"His behaviour, commitment and attitude towards the national team deserves praise and a special place in the history of this sport in our country.

"While we respect his decision, we want to emphasise the door to the national team is not closed and, should all the conditions be met, it would be a great honour if he rejoined the team.''

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