Nemanja Vidic retires from international football

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has announced his retirement from international football, claiming the reason he will no longer play for Serbia is due to criticism from the press.

The centre-half has made 56 appearances for his country, but missed a penalty in the 1-0 defeat to Slovenia earlier in the month that cost the Serbs a place in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Vidic follows in the footsteps of Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic who has also announced his retirement, and feels he has given all he could for the nation.

“The basic reason for my international retirement is that my commitment for the national team has been criticised by the media and therefore by the public as well for some time now,” a statement on the Serbia Football Association website reads.

“I’ve been under fire although I turned up to play for Serbia even when I was injured and sometimes I did so against the advice of my club.

“I have come forward with this statement in order to root out any hear-say talk as to why I’m quitting the national team, to make sure they keep a good atmosphere ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

“I am also convinced the upcoming generation has the potential to give the nation plenty to cheer about and I will be with them whole-heartedly as a fan,” he concluded.

The news will be welcomed by Sir Alex Ferguson, who will hope his influential defender will be less injury prone in the future due to playing less games.

By Gareth McKnight