Portuguese central defender Jorge Costa has announced his retirement from international football.
The 30-year-old, nicknamed 'The Tank', becomes the fifth Portuguese player to retire from international football in the last month, after Paulo Sousa, Dimas, Paulo Bento and Pedro Barbosa admitted that they were ending their careers
'Time has come'
"I am retiring because I know that my time has come," he said. "It was wonderful playing for Portugal, I acheived 50 caps and I think this is the time to hand my place to the young ones."
Jorge Costa is captain of FC Porto and he played alongside skipper Fernando Couto at the heart of Portugal's defence at EURO 2000™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals in Korea/Japan.
'Already in mind'
He also made it clear that his decision had nothing to with his country's poor showing in the Far East, saying: "My option had nothing to do with that, because it was something I had already in mind prior to our departure for the finals. I leave the national squad with tranquility because there are other quality central defenders in Portugal who can do the same or even better than I did."
The no-nonsense defender, who spent last season on loan with English FA Premiership club Charlton Athletic FC, became a regular fixture in the national squad after Portugal's victory in the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship and was given his first cap by coach Carlos Queiroz in a friendly match against Bulgaria in November 1991.