- POSTED: 08 Oct 2013 23:00
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Cardiff City forward Craig Bellamy announced on Tuesday that he will retire from international football with Wales after the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium.
LONDON: Cardiff City forward Craig Bellamy announced on Tuesday that he will retire from international football with Wales after the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium.
The 34-year-old is Wales's equal third most-capped player and will win his 77th cap against Macedonia on Friday, which will be his final home appearance in his home city of Cardiff.
He had hinted that he would bid farewell to the international arena in a friendly against Finland in November, but on Tuesday he said: "This is the last week of my Wales career. I will not play in November.
"To play 70-odd times has been the best, even with the disappointments, the lows and the times I did not want to play again, because defeats can do that to you."
"But to have the honour of going out and singing the anthem 70-odd times. It's different, it's the best and I hope I get the chance to do it on Friday and again on Tuesday."
Bellamy has played for leading English clubs including Newcastle United, Manchester City and Liverpool, where he had two spells, but has never played at a major tournament with Wales.
He admitted that deciding to end his 15-year international career had been a hard decision, but said he felt obliged to step aside for the younger players coming through.
"I can't tell you how I will feel playing my final home game on Friday," he said.
"The emotion of it will probably hit me more later on, when I am watching the team, but I have to do what is best for the national team and this group of players are the future."
"The next qualifying campaign is another two years. I am not going to see it, and for this group of players, with the talent they have, to have the best shot, I have to cut myself short and I have to be realistic."
Wales, who have not appeared at a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, can no longer qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil.