Cardiff City forward Craig Bellamy has confirmed that he will retire from international football with Wales following the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium.
“Players come and go and my career has definitely come and gone,” Bellamy said. “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.”
For Bellamy, who has 76 caps for Wales and scored 19 goals during a 15-year international career, the impetus to retire is his belief that the current set of young, talented Welsh players gives the nation a better chance of qualification for Euro 2016.
“They have to have a better opportunity of qualifying. I have to cut myself short,” he said.
The former Wales captain will go down as one of his country’s best ever players. He is the third most-capped Welsh player of all time and is fifth on the all-time scorers’ chart with 19 goals.
“I’m just grateful for every game I’ve been lucky enough to play for my country, and I really mean that. It’s an honor to play for your country at any level at any sport.”
The World Cup qualifier against Macedonia on Friday will be Bellamy’s final Wales appearance on home soil. The match also could be his final cap if he is shown a yellow card, which would rule him out for Tuesday’s qualifier against Belgium through suspension.
To one of the most tenacious, dedicated and inspiring players to ever come out of Wales, we salute you.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.