Norway captain Brede Hangeland has retired from international football in a bid to prolong his English Premier League career. The 33-year-old Crystal Palace defender admitted he chose to call time on his 12-year international career before Norway launch their UEFA EURO 2016 qualification bid.
The 91-cap centre-back joined Palace in the summer after Fulham's relegation to the Championship, and will now concentrate on the Eagles' battle for top-flight stability. "For many years I have had a very high load on my body, and now it feels essential to make this decision," said Hangeland.
"It is a heavy decision, it is never a good time for this type of decision but before the start of a new national qualification and with a new club, I am confident that it is the right decision. I'm very humble and proud to have represented Norway on so many occasions. Playing for Norway has given me some of my best experiences on the football field."
Hangeland joined Palace under Tony Pulis' watch, but made his competitive debut in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Arsenal under Keith Millen's temporary charge. Palace are yet to confirm their replacement for Pulis, who walked out on the eve of the season.
Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo praised the decision of his "wise" captain. "I have great respect for the decision," said the Norway boss. "Brede is a wise man, he has had an illustrious career in the national team and has been captain with a capital C. It's been a pleasure to work with Brede, and I look forward to keeping in touch with Brede, although he will now concentrate on his club career."