Anorthosis Famagusta FC's Georgian international striker Temur Ketsbaia has announced his retirement from international football.
The 35-year-old former Newcastle United FC player made his decision after Georgia's 2-1 defeat at home against the Republic of Ireland in Saturday's UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 10 qualifying game.
'The time has come'
"Ketsbaia has decided that the time has come for him to leave and he thinks he needs to do it before we play Switzerland on Wednesday," said Georgian Football Federation (GFF) president Merab Zhordania. "
We can only thank him for an outstanding career with the national team in the past ten years."
It was Ketsbaia's decisive last-minute goal against NK Dinamo Zagreb which earned Newcastle their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 1997/98, marking one of the highlights of his career with the club before he moved on to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Dundee FC.
He returned to Anorthosis, the club he joined on first leaving Georgia in 1991, last summer. He had spent three years at the club in his first spell before moving on to Greece, where he played for AEK Athens FC for three years, before going on to spend a further four years with Newcastle.
Ketsbaia was twice named Georgia's Player of the Year, in 1990 and in the 1995/96 season. Having played his final international against Ireland, his record now reads 16 goals in 49 international games. He is his country's joint-top scorer of all time alongside Rangers FC's Shota Arveladze.
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