France winger Franck Ribery has announced his retirement from international football.
Ribery, who adopted the name ‘Bilal Yusuf Mohammed’ after his conversion to Islam in 2006, revealed his decision in an interview with German magazine Kicker on Wednesday, bringing to end his eight-year international career.
The 31-year-old missed out on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil with a back injury and in his absence, Les Bleus reached the quarter-finals where they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Germany.
“I’m calling it a day. I decided that it was the right moment,” he said.
“One has to know when to stop. I’ve seen so much; now it is time for others to move forward. There were ups and downs, but now the time has come for a new chapter in my life.
“You must know when it is time to quit. I have seen a lot. It is time now that others move ahead and you could see at the World Cup that you don’t have to be concerned about the future of France.”
Ribery, the 2013 European Footballer of the Year, named personal reasons as the motive to quit after 81 caps since his debut in 2006, during which he scored 16 goals and was a 2006 World Cup runner-up.
“I want to spend more time with my family, fully concentrate on my job at Bayern and to give up my place for the many great young players in the national team.”
The diminutive player has had his own fair share of off-the-field controversies.
Ribery was suspended for several games for his role in the revolt against then coach Raymond Domenech during Les Bleus’ infamous 2010 World Cup performance.
He was also involved, with teammate Karim Benzema, in an affair around an under-age prostitute a few years ago but the charges were dropped.
He joined Bayern Munich from Marseille in 2007 for a then club record 25 million euros ($A36 million). He has won the Champions League, Club World Cup, Bundesliga and German Cup last year with them, plus three more league and cup doubles.