Lukas Podolski retires from Germany national team

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BERLIN (AP) Veteran forward Lukas Podolski announced his retirement from Germany’s national team on Monday, ending a 12-year international career.

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Podolski said in an Instagram post he had informed Germany coach Joachim Loew that he is retiring from international football with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old Galatasaray player, who was born in Poland, has played 129 games for Germany, scoring 48 goals and winning the World Cup two years ago.

“The decision was very, very difficult for me,” he said. “The national team was always close to my heart, and it will always stay that way. But after the Euro/vacation I felt that my focus had shifted. Everything has its time – and my time with the DFB (German national federation) is over.”

Podolski added that he wants to spend more time on other things, particularly his family.

He follows veteran midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in quitting the national team after the European Championship, where Germany lost 2-0 to France in the semifinals.

Podolski made his Germany debut in June 2004 under then-coach Rudi Voeller. He hasn’t missed a tournament since, although he wasn’t in Loew’s starting team at Euro 2016.

His final Germany appearance was as a substitute in Germany’s 3-0 second-round win against Slovakia.