Ukraine's all-time leading goalscorer, Andriy Shevchenko, has announced his retirement from football in order to pursue a career in politics.
The 35-year-old confirmed the news in a statement released by his club, FC Dynamo Kyiv, on Friday. "This will probably shock everyone," he said. "My future will no longer be in football. I will give more information tomorrow, but I will be going into politics."
Shevchenko, capped 111 times, scored the last of his 48 international goals in Ukraine's opening match of UEFA EURO 2012, his second-half double helping the co-hosts come from behind to defeat Sweden in Kyiv.
He made his final appearance for the Synyo-Zhovti as a substitute during the 1-0 loss to England in Donetsk, ending 17 years of service for his country during which he captained Ukraine to the last eight at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
One of Europe's most prolific strikers for over a decade, Shevchenko began his career with Dynamo, forming a fruitful partnership with Serhiy Rebrov and finishing as top scorer in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League as Valery Lobanovskiy's side reached the semi-finals.
A big-money move followed in 1999 to AC Milan, for whom he registered 127 Serie A goals, won one Scudetto and converted the decisive spot kick in the 2003 UEFA Champions League final shoot-out against Juventus at Old Trafford.
The recipient of the 2004 Ballon d'Or, Shevchenko left Milan two years later, but a €45m transfer to Chelsea FC did not work out and he returned to the Rossoneri for a loan spell in 2008/09 before making a permanent move back to Dynamo in August 2009.
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