Manchester United and Wales winger Ryan Giggs is to retire from international football after Saturday’s Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic, the Football Association of Wales has confirmed.
Giggs will confirm his decision to retire at a news conference near Cardiff later on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Wales captain has played 63 times for his country, since making his debut as a 17-year-old.
“The FAW would like to place on record their gratitude for the 16 years of service that Ryan has give to his country in 64 internationals,” the FAW said on its Web site.
“In that time he has upheld the highest principals of fair play during an exemplary career for Wales.”
Giggs admitted that he was finding it hard to combine the physical demands of playing for both club and country.
“I feel this is a good time, the right time to retire and it’s a difficult decision for me,” Giggs said.
“I have loved playing for my country and I have loved captaining my country. It wasn’t an easy decision.”
“It definitely helps myself, I’ll get those breaks in the season, and obviously it will help Manchester United because I’ll be playing less football,” Giggs added.
“But it will also help Wales – I don’t feel that I’ve been performing as well as I could of.
“Whether it was the amount of football I was playing I don’t know, but I think all three parties will benefit from this.
“Hopefully this will not only prolong my career but allow me to be fresher and allow me to enjoy the last two or three years.”
Giggs joins a notable group of Welsh internationals including the likes of Ian Rush, Neville Southalland Mark Hughes, who did represent their country at the finals of a major tournament
“I’ve had such a successful time at club level but obviously that hasn’t been the case in my international career because we haven’t qualified,” Giggs said.
“That is something I’ve always wanted to do because you want to play against the best players, you want to play in the best tournaments whether it be the World Cup or European Championships.
“I’m disappointed not to have done that, but many players go through that and I’ve been fortunate to have had such a successful career so I’m not going to grumble.”