'Hurt' Carvalho quits Portugal
Ricardo Carvalho has ended his international career with Portugal, claiming he has been left "disrespected and hurt." The 33-year-old Real Madrid defender had left Portugal's training camp without permission earlier today, and tonight announced his decision in a statement released via national news agency Lusa.
It has been reported Carvalho was angered after being left out of the starting XI for Friday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Cyprus. "I feel in great shape, both physically and mentally, like my performances for the club and the national team have shown. If they make me feel like a burden and will not tell me, the only possibility is to leave," Carvalho's statement read.
"I have never felt this disrespected and hurt in my dignity before. Between my peers, I am just one more athlete. However, I, too, deserve consideration and respect," he added. "I did not plan to end my international career this way but I do it convinced that I always honoured my country."
Carvalho earned 75 caps for Portugal, scoring four goals, after making his debut against Albania in 2003. He was named as part of the UEFA Team of the Tournament after helping Portugal to the runners-up spot at EURO 2004. He earned the last of his caps in the 5-0 victory over Luxembourg earlier this month.
Earlier today, the Portuguese Football Federation confirmed Carvalho had left the squad. A statement on the federation website, www.fpf.pt, read: "Ricardo Carvalho left the Portugal national team camp on Wednesday by his own initiative and without informing the federation or the national team coach. "As such, he will not travel with the rest of the party to Nicosia, where the team will play their sixth game in qualifying for the 2012 European Championship," the statement went on.
Portugal, who are level on 10 points with Denmark and Norway at the top of Group H after five games, face fourth-placed Cyprus in Nicosia on Friday.