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Ki Announces International Retirement

The captain of South Korea’s National team has decided to hang up his international boots.

Sweden v Korea Republic: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
South Korea’s shocking performance in this past year’s world cup included many great moments sparked by their captain Ki
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Newcastle United midfielder, and captain of the South Korean National team Ki Sung-yueng has announced in a letter to the South Korean FA that he will be retiring from international football after an 11 year international career.

This announcement comes after Ki picked up another injury while on international duty, this time injuring his hamstring. It is worth noting that Ki was considering retiring from international football following the World Cup, but South Korea convinced him to play one more tournament with them with the hopes that they could send their captain home with some much deserved silverware.

Ki’s announcement came via a letter to the Korean Football Association that was obtained by The Korea Herald. In the letter Ki thanked the fans, praised the national team and confirmed what many expected after Korea’s exit from the Asia Cup.

With the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup being my last event, I’m laying down the big honor and responsibility of the national team,

In my football career, the national team was more valuable than anything else. I want to thank fans who have loved and supported me for all this time.

Ki went on to praise the Korean National Team’s direction under current manager Paulo Bento, and vowed to continue to support them as a fan.

The national team is having a difficult time after we failed to meet fans’ expectations at the Asian Cup, but I believe our players will overcome the difficulties under Bento’s guidance,

Now, I will be one of the football fans who support the national team and will wish the best for South Korean football.

Korea Republic v Mexico: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Ki and South Korea’s World Cup campaign suffered a huge blow as their upset of Mexico ultimately failed.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Ki made his debut for the Korean National team on Sept. 5, 2008, in a friendly match against Jordan. He went on to make 110 international appearances, which makes him the 8th most capped South Korean player of all time. In his many appearances, Ki contributed 10 goals as a holding midfielder.

Ki’s storied career includes 3 World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018) and 3 Asia Cups (2011, 2015, 2019). As well as a 2008 Beijing Olympic appearance and 2012 London Olympic appearance, where South Korea won the Bronze medal.

Ki captained the Korean National Team from 2015-2018 and was commonly regarded as one of the most important players for the National Team. Ki was the recipient of the Korean Football Association’s player of the year award three times, winning it in 2011, 2012, and 2016.

South Korean teammate Ko Ja-cheol also announced his retirement today. Both players plan on continuing their domestic careers. Ko will return to FC Augsburg, and Ki will return to Newcastle, where he is the first ever Asian player in club history.