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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Craig Bellamy to end international career

Craig Bellamy has announced he will retire from international football after Wales' World Cup qualifying campaign.

Craig Bellamy: Bound for London 2012
Bellamy made his Wales debut in 1998.

Bellamy, 34, has scored 19 goals for his nation in 76 appearances, and the clashes against Macedonia and Belgium are set to be his last after making his debut in 1998. The Macedonia game on Friday will be his final appearance in Wales.

"Players come and go and my career has definitely come and gone,” Bellamy said, who first appeared for his country as an 18-year-old.

"I have to do what's best for the national team and this group of players are the future. The next qualifiers, two-odd years, I'm not going to see it."

Bellamy admits it has been a tough decision to end his 15-year international career, but feels he has to do the right thing for the current squad.

He said: "I am just grateful for every game I have been lucky enough to play for my country and I really mean that. It's an honour to play for your country at any level and in any sport. When you get the opportunity to do it 70-odd times it is hard to let go.

"I can't tell you how I will feel playing my final home game on Friday. The emotion of it will probably hit me more later on, when I am watching the team, but I have to do what is best for the national team and this group of players are the future.

"The next qualifying campaign is another two years. I am not going to see it, and for this group of players, with the talent they have, to have the best shot, I have to cut myself short and I have to be realistic.''

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