Best Players Who Have Retired Internationally in 2014

With the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup and the start of the Euro 2016 Qualifiers, there have been quite a few notable players that have called time on their international careers.

But how one feels about players deciding themselves that they no longer wish to play for their country is another matter entirely.

UEFA president Michel Platini was in the news this weekend following his outburst that retired French international Franck Ribery, "Cannot decide himself whether he plays for France", and "If (coach) Didier Deschamps picks him, he must come. That's the FIFA rule. If he doesn't come, he will be suspended for three Bayern Munich games."

Such a rule does exist, but is normally only enforced by international sides attempting to stop clubs from withdrawing players from national team call-ups for their own selfish reasons. Usually when a player retires from the national side there is an understanding between club and country that the player is in the final stages of his career and can no longer effectively give his all for both sides.

Whether or not Ribery faces any repercussions for his international retirement, or this is just another case of Platini talking out of his ass, remains to be seen.

In the meantime here is a list of notable players that called time on their national side careers this year.

Philipp Lahm, Germany

Despite being only 30 years old, the former German captain has already participated in three World Cups, and two European Championships and with Germany's victory in the 2014 World Cup he has opted to go out as a winner.

Miroslav Klose, Germany

With the 36 year old striker becoming the highest all time goal scorer at the World Cup with 16 goals and signing off with a World Cup win, Klose rather understandably ended his international career this summer.

Ashley Cole, England

One of the finest left backs of his generation and a long servant for the England national side, Cole's surprise exclusion from Roy Hodgson's 2014 World Cup squad caused the 33 year old to end his international career prior to the tournament.

Steven Gerrard, England

Although he didn't truly shine at international level as brightly as he has at times for Liverpool over his distinguished career, the 34 year old Gerrard never shirked his duties to the Three Lions and his presence on the pitch and in the dressing room will be missed.

Xavi, Spain

Watching the Spanish national side will simply not be the same with Xavi at the heart of midfield pulling the strings. The 34 year old leaves the international stage with two European Championship wins and a World Cup title as the most influential player for one of the greatest sides of all time.

David Villa, Spain

The 32 year old striker, who has been plagued with injuries in recent seasons, decided this summer to not only leave European football behind with his move to New York City FC, but also bring an end to a glittering international career that also saw him win two European Championships and a World Cup title.

Franck Ribery, France

Finally the aforementioned Ribery has decided at the age of 31, after missing the 2014 World Cup with a back injury that his time with Les Bleus has come to an end. That is unless Platini is able to force him back into action. Time will tell on that one. 


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