March 4, 2018 / 11:21 AM / 19 days ago

Dutch midfielder Sneijder calls time on international career

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Midfielder Wesley Sneijder ended his record-breaking career with the Netherlands by announcing his retirement from international football on Sunday.

Soccer Football - Netherlands Training - Pittodrie, Aberdeen, Britain - November 8, 2017 Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder during training Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

The decision follows discussions with new Dutch coach Ronald Koeman, who went to see him in Qatar, the Dutch football association KNVB said in a statement.

“Wesley is one of the best Dutch internationals in recent years, an amazing player with a great attitude. But I want to build a new team and therefore have to make choices,” Koeman said in the statement.

The 33-year-old Sneijder said he knew his international career would be in jeopardy when he left Nice in January to play at Al Gharafa in Qatar.

STOCKHOLM 2016-09-05 Wesley Sneijder during the training with the Netherlands national football team at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, September 5, 2016. The Netherlands play the World Cup qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday. Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency/via REUTERS/File Photo

“On top of that I understand that Koeman wants to start a new era with newer, younger players. We spoke about this openly in a friendly discussion and I respect his decision,” Sneijder said.

The KNVB said they would now discuss with Sneijder a possible role for him in the national team structures once he stopped playing and had achieved the necessary coaching qualifications.

Sneijder last June set a new record for most caps by a Dutch international when he played for a 131st time and his 133rd and last cap came in November’s 3-0 away win against Romania in a friendly.

He made his debut in 2003 and was a World Cup runner-up in South Africa in 2010.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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