Russian World Cup hero Igor Akinfeev retires from international duty
CSKA Moscow goalkeeper made over 100 Sbornaya appearances
Akinfeev: "World Cup probably the peak of my career in the national team"
Igor Akinfeev has retired from international duty, bringing to an end a 14-year career with the Russian national side. The CSKA Moscow goalkeeper produced one of the most memorable 2018 FIFA World Cup™ moments - and one of the most fabled episodes in his nation's footballing history - by saving Iago Aspas's penalty in the Russia 2018 Round of 16 shootout to send his side past Spain into the quarter-finals.
"Each story has its own beginning and its end. My story with the national team has come to its logical conclusion too," Akinfeev said in a statement on his club side's website. "It was a great honour for me to be the captain of Russian team at the home FIFA World Cup. Honestly, I did not even dream about it but it happened and probably became the peak of my career in the national team.
"Yes, we did not win, but all the guys did the best they could. The main thing is that there were no indifferent people among us. The fact we've reached quarter-finals is still a success.
"I would like to thank all the coaches who worked with me in the national team, my team-mates, the entire staff of the national team and, of course, millions of Russian fans who gave us huge support in all the cities around the country."
Akinfeev has called time on his Sbornaya career at the relatively early age - for a goalkeeper at least - of 32, but he has already had a long and successful international career having made his full national team debut less than a month after turning 18.
His near 15-year spell with Russia has seen him reach the second-highest number of caps (110) in his country's post-Soviet history. Before this year's World Cup, Akinfeev's international highlight was undoubtedly helping his nation reach the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2008, while he also appeared at Brazil 2014, EURO 2016 and the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.