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Podolski to retire after Euro 2016


BERLIN, Germany, January 23 – Germany forward Lukas Podolski says he plans to retire from international football following Euro 2016 in France after more than a decade of playing for the reigning world champions.

The 29-year-old midfielder has made 121 appearances for Germany, having made his debut in 2004, and the France tournament would be his fourth European Championships.

He was part of the squad which lifted their fourth World Cup title in Rio de Janeiro last July, but only played in the group stages and has not held down a regular starting place since Euro 2012.

“The European Championships will be the last major tournament for me,” the Inter Milan star told German daily Bild.

“I have already achieved my main goal of winning the World Cup. No one can take that away from me.”

Germany have struggled in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and are third in the group after a shock defeat to Poland and draw at home with the Republic of Ireland.

Podolski, who was voted the best young player at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, is on loan in Italy from Arsenal until the end of the season.

He joined the Gunners from Cologne in 2012 — the club he started out at before a three-year hiatus with Bayern from 2006 to 2009 — had not played a league match for the Gunners this season.

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Podolski helped Inter seal a place in the Italian Cup quarter-final with a 2-0 win over ten-man Sampdoria on Wednesday and says he is still finding his feet.

“When I find my rhythm, I am convinced that I can help the team,” he said, with Inter ninth in the Italian League table.

“Our goal is to reach the Champions League, but that is a very difficult task.”

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