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Song retires from Cameroon duty

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LONDON, January 7 – West Ham United’s on-loan midfielder Alex Song has announced that he is retiring from international football with Cameroon with immediate effect.

The 27-year-old Barcelona player has not played for his country since being sent off against Croatia at last year’s World Cup and was left out of the squad for the this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

He recently held talks with Cameroon Football Federation officials about his future with the national team, but has decided to withdraw from international duty.

“Since the World Cup in the summer and my subsequent exclusion from the Cameroon squad for the African Cup of Nations, I have taken the decision to retire from international football,” he said in a statement released to the British media late Tuesday.

“It is true that there were some discussions of late to include me in the squad for this tournament, but I feel after a lot of careful thought and numerous discussions with my family this is the right decision.

“My love for my country will never change, but I want to take time to focus purely on domestic football and start to rebuild my career at West Ham United. I wish Cameroon all the best and the team will always be in my heart.

Song failed to hold down a first-team place at Barcelona after signing from Arsenal in 2012, but he has impressed since joining West Ham on loan in August.

Song, the cousin of former Cameroon international Rigobert Song, made his international debut against Morocco in November 2005 and has won 49 caps.

On his last appearance, he was shown a straight red card for elbowing Mario Mandzukic in the back as Cameroon crashed to a 4-0 group-stage defeat against Croatia at the World Cup.

Song was given a three-match ban, meaning he missed Cameroon’s final match of the competition against Brazil.

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