29-year-old new signing Ki Sung-yueng has moved to Newcastle on a free transfer from Swansea and will continue to play at the highest level of football in the Premier League.
Ki has been captain of South Korea for four years now, and he has talked about how he has felt the responsibility of leading his country.
Now he seems to be seriously considering giving up International football.
Ki Sung-yueng – about to retire from International football?
When players get close to 30 they often think about International retirement, and it can help them prolong their club careers.
Alan Shearer did that when he turned 30 back in 2000 and about a year afetr Sir Bobby Robson arrived at Newcastle.
And Mo Diame is probably the best recent example – having retired from playing for Senegal almost eighteen months ago.
His last six months at Newcastle have seen Diame be the star of the team playing in the holding midfield position; we have never seen him play much better than he has this year.
Ki has played 104 times for South Korea, and has talked about his International career as reported in the Northern Echo:
“I can’t confirm whether I will certainly retire as I cannot make the decision on my own. But I did organise my thoughts to some extent. “
“For the last four years as a captain, I felt responsible for not leading this team well.”
“I saw many coaches come and go and felt considerable responsibility on my shoulders as a captain, so that really tired me out. “
“But I haven’t made up my mind yet. I will announce it when the time comes.”
“When I started to play in Europe, I cared about the national team whenever I made decisions.”
“Until now, I’ve sacrificed for my national team, and I considered my national team important, so I had picked a club where I can play many games.”
“Now the World Cup is over, and I don’t have to do it that way.”
It sounds as though Ki is readying his country that he is about to retire from International football.
The Asia Cup now takes place every four years and is due to take place in January next year in the United Arab Emirates, and by then we expect Ki to have retired from playing for South Korea.
That would be good news for Newcastle United.
He made his debut ten years ago in June 2008, in a World Cup qualification match against Jordan.
For those who haven’t seen it yet – Ian Johnson did a piece on me this week – here it is.
It all happened very quickly and Ian asked if it was OK on Monday if I answered some questions on my cancer.
Ian certainly moved quickly to get the job done and the article – he should be on the Newcastle transfer team!!
Here’s Ian’s Twitter account.