Manchester United defender, Nemanja Vidic
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic confirmed his retirement from international duty on Monday because of criticism of his attitude toward the national team.
The last of Vidic’s 56 appearances for his national team came against Slovenia this month, when he missed a penalty in a 1-0 defeat that cost Serbia a place in the playoffs for the 2012 European Championship, reports The Associated Press.
Vidic announced his decision in a statement carried by Serbia’s football federation.
“I wish to inform the public and the fans that after long consideration, with heavy heart, I decided to say goodbye to the Serbian team,” the 30-year-old Vidic said.
“The main reason for this decision is that for a long time, especially in light of recent events, the media and thus the public criticized my attitude toward the national team, even though I sometimes played injured, sometimes against the will of my club,” Vidic said.
“Therefore, I do not want to burden the next generation of our players before the new cycle of qualifications,” he added.
Vidic, United’s captain who has scored twice during his 10-year-span with the national team, has often been criticized by the media for allegedly not trying hard when playing for his nation.
After the loss against Slovenia, he first said he was quitting, but then retracted his statement, saying he made it in the heat of the moment.
“I feel, after 10 years of playing for my country, it is the right time for me to stand aside and allow the younger players to come through,” Vidic told the United website.
Inter Milan midfielder, Dejan Stankovic also said after the Slovenia defeat that he would no longer be available for Serbia.