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France midfielder Zinedine Zidane has announced his retirement from international football.

The 32-year-old Real Madrid playmaker confirmed his decision to quit on his personal website.

“I have thought long and hard over this decision – I think that at a given moment you must say ‘stop’,” said Zidane’s statement.

“It’s the end of my international career with the French team. It’s the time, it’s my time.

“It’s the end of a cycle: there have been some great players who retired in 2000 and 2002, other players are doing it and now I’m doing it.

“I thought about it before Euro 2004. Independent of the result, I had anticipated quitting the French team.

Last week, new France coach Raymond Domenech travelled to Madrid in the hope of persuading Zidane to continue his international career. However, the former Bordeaux and Juve player has decided to call it a day.

“Zidane will not play for France anymore,” said Domenech.

“I’m sorry about it. I would have liked him to carry on.

“He thought he had to leave the place to young players.”

Zidane made his debut for France in 1994, and was arguably the most important member of the teams which won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships in 2000.

He follows fellow veterans Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu in retiring from the international game.

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