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Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, has called time on his international career with France. Lloris, who captained his nation to World Cup glory in 2018, retires as the most-capped player of all time for France.
The decision to retire comes just three weeks after France came up short in their quest for back-to-back World Cup triumphs. In a thrilling final against Argentina, they ended up losing out in a penalty shootout despite Lloris’ best efforts.
Speaking to French publication, L’Equipe, Lloris said:
“I’ve decided to stop my international career, with the feeling that I have given everything. I think it’s important to announce this now, two-and-a-half months before the start of Euro qualifying.
I have really been thinking about it since the end of the World Cup, but there has been something deep inside of me for maybe six months now and which grew during the competition, leading me to make the decision.
With 145 caps to his name, 121 of which as captain, the 36-year-old has been through a number of highs and lows with the national team. Despite never winning the European Championships, he captained France to the final in 2016 where they lost in Extra Time to Portugal.
Two years later, France were crowned World Champions and Lloris lifted the trophy after a fabulous campaign in Russia culminated in a 4-2 win over Croatia in the final. Despite coming up short last month, the memories of captaining his country to World Cup glory will live with him forever.
In his announcement, he admitted that leading his country for a decade had taken its toll on him mentally:
“There comes a time when you need to step aside. I have always said the French national team does not belong to any one person. To have been the France goalkeeper for 14-and-a-half seasons is a big deal, but it is also mentally exhausting.
I hope clearing some time for myself will allow me to keep playing at the highest level for a few more years. There is a goalkeeper who is ready (Mike Maignan), and I need a bit more time for me, my family and my children.”
Didier Deschamps has been Lloris’ international manager since 2012 and in a statement released by the French Football Federation earlier, he heaped praise on the goalkeeper stating that it was a “joy and an honour” to be his coach. He said:
“Hugo is still at his best and I have to respect his decision even if he still had his place in our team as we saw at the World Cup. He was captain when I became coach in 2012, I kept the armband for him and I have never regretted it.
It’s a great servant of the France national team retiring and I want to praise the incredible international career. Beyond all the records he beat, beyond the essential role he had in all our success, he is a remarkable person on the human side.
I wish every manager to have a player like him in their squad. I wish all the happiness. A huge thank you Hugo for having represented your country so well.”