Romania captain Cristian Chivu announced his retirement from international football today, citing age and a succession of injuries as his reasons.
The 30-year-old Inter Milan star - capped 75 times since making his debut in 1999 - said that he was not able to play for both the national team and his club as injuries, especially a fractured skull last year, had forced his decision.
"My career playing for the Romanian side is over," he said in a letter to the Romanian Football Federation (FRF). "Age, injuries, surgery in the past few years prevents me from playing on several fronts.
"This decision ends one of the most important stages of my life. Looking back, I feel proud and honoured," added Chivu, who was a member of the Inter side that won the doemstic double and the UEFA Champions League in 2010.
The three-time Romanian footballer of the year's decision was greeted with dismay by the FRF. "It is an enormous loss for Romania, not only for the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier [on 3 June] against Bosnia, which is an extremely important match, but also for the future of the national side," said FRF managing director Ionut Lupescu.
Romania are struggling in Group D, they presently lie fifth, seven points adrift of leaders France and three behind second-placed Albania halfway through the qualifiers.