Croatia forward Mario Mandžukić has announced his retirement from international football after helping his country to this summer's World Cup final.

By 90Min
August 14, 2018

Croatia forward Mario Mandžukić has announced his retirement from international football after helping his country to this summer's World Cup final.

The 32-year-old striker won an impressive 89 caps for his national side since making his debut back in 2007 against Macedonia, becoming a mainstay of the Croatian side by scoring 33 goals, with eight of those goals coming in major tournaments.

The Juventus striker is just three goals short of becoming Croatia's all-time top goal scorer, but has decided to call time on his international career in order to focus on the remainder of his club career.

In an emotional post on InstagramMandžukić thanked the fans for their support during his career, also describing how he will miss the honor of wearing the Croatia jersey and hearing the national anthem.

Mandžukić feels that has given everything for Croatia during his 11 year career with the national side, and therefore feels that now is the right time to retire from playing for his country.

View this post on Instagram

Dragi navijači, uvijek sam više volio govoriti na terenu nego izvan njega. Stoga mi i ove riječi dolaze malo teže nego što mi je bilo uklizati protivniku ili istrčati sprint u 120. minuti. Teže, jer znam koliko radosti mi donose sva okupljanja, utakmice i pobjede. Teže, jer znam da je slušanje Lijepe naše prije utakmice najveća emocija. Teže, jer znam kakva je čast obući hrvatski dres i predstavljati svoju zemlju. Teže, jer znam da je ovo konačno i da nakon ovih riječi više nema povratka. Pa ipak, znam da je vrijeme baš za te riječi... Opraštam se od hrvatske reprezentacije. Koliko god me srebro napunilo novom energijom, ujedno mi je olakšalo ovu nemoguće tešku odluku. Doživjeli smo svoj san, napravili povijesni uspjeh i pritom osjetili nevjerojatnu ljubav navijača. Tih mjesec dana, kao i dočeci u Zagrebu, Slavonskom Brodu i cijeloj Hrvatskoj, ostat će najvažnija uspomena moje karijere. Bilo je to najljepše putovanje s reprezentacijom i najdraži povratak kući. Presretan sam, ispunjen i do neba ponosan na to srebro koje smo kovali godinama, kroz puno muke, truda, rada, razočaranja i teških trenutaka. Nema idealnog trenutka za odlazak. Da možemo, vjerujem da bismo svi nastupali za Hrvatsku dok smo živi jer većeg ponosa nema. No, osjećam da je za mene taj trenutak sada. Da sam dao najbolje od sebe, da sam dao doprinos najvećem uspjehu hrvatskog nogometa. Prije 14 godina, prvi puta sam kao juniorski reprezentativac obukao sveti dres. Od tada sam upoznao, igrao i radio s puno odličnih suigrača, izbornika, trenera i ljudi oko reprezentacije. Svi smo imali isti cilj - dati sve za uspjeh Hrvatske. Zahvaljujem svima, jer je svatko na neki način ostavio trag u mojoj karijeri. Na tom putu sa mnom su uvijek bili moji najbliži, kojima zahvaljujem na velikoj podršci. I na kraju, hvala navijačima. Nitko od nas nije savršen. Promašivao sam prilike, gubio lopte ili krivo dodavao. No, uvijek sam dao sve od sebe i ostavio srce na terenu. Hvala vam što ste to prepoznali i bili uz mene i reprezentaciju. Od danas, moje je mjesto s vama - među najvjernijim navijačima Hrvatske. Voli vas Mandžo ❤️🇭🇷 #mm17🌪

A post shared by Mario Mandžukić MM 17 (@mariomandzukic_official) on

His last match for Croatia was certainly an eventful one, with the Juventus striker scoring a consolation goal against France in the World Cup final. 

The former Bayern hitman had scored an earlier own goal, only to redeem himself in somewhat comical fashion by dispossessing Hugo Lloris to score one of the more bizarre goals in World Cup final history. Despite his strike, Croatia slipped to a 4-2 defeat as France deservedly emerged victorious.

England fans will have wished that Mandžukić had retired before the World Cup, with the 32-year-old's extra-time goal denying the Three Lions a place in the final for the first time in 52 years. The goal completed a comeback from the Croatians, after Kieran Trippier's pinpoint free kick had given England the early advantage before Ivan Perisic's equalizer.

Mandžukić is not the only player to have announced their international retirement after the World Cup in Russia, with Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and David Silva and Germany and Arsenal star Mesut Ozil all having previously done the same.

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