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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ljungberg announces international retirement

Ljungberg announces international retirement

June 28, 2008 14:43 IST

Sweden captain Fredrik Ljungberg announced his retirement from the national team on Friday to concentrate on playing for West Ham United in the English Premier League.

- Soccer Studs

"The simple fact is that the physical strain of doubling on the national team and in club football for such a long time has finally taken its toll," the 31-year-old midfielder said in a letter on the Web site of local paper Helsingborg Dagbladet (www.hd.se).

"And that is why I have decided to concentrate on playing for West Ham United and that is where my focus will be."

Ljungberg, who captained Sweden at Euro 2008, joined West Ham last year after nine successful years with London rivals Arsenal.

He has battled several injuries over the years but, since making his international debut nearly 11 years ago, remained Sweden's first choice in left midfield.

Sweden were eliminated from Euro 2008 at the group stage, with the ageing team pilloried in the domestic media for their sluggish showing in finishing third in Group D with just three points.

"I can honestly say that I have loved every match, especially the undying support that you the fans have always given us players," said Ljungberg.

"I will carry on playing soccer at the highest level in the Premier League for several more years and I love this sport more than anything."

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