Outspoken striker will step down after qualifiers.
Cardiff City and Wales striker Craig Bellamy has confirmed that he will retire from international football after the final two World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium, the BBC reports.
The 34-year-old will bring an end to a 15-year long international career that has seen him collect 76 caps for the Dragons, as well as bagging 19 goals.
He had hinted at stepping away from the international set up late in 2012, but he has now confirmed that he will be calling it a day following the final two qualifiers next week.
“Players come and go and my career has definitely come and gone,” Bellamy said.
“I have to do what’s best for the national team and this group of players are the future. The next qualifiers, two-odd years, I’m not going to see it.
He said the current set of talented younger players gave Wales a better chance of qualification for Euro 2016.
“They have to have a better opportunity of qualifying. I have to cut myself short,” he said.
Friday’s encounter with Macedonia at the Millennium Stadium will mark his final appearance on home soil, however, it could prove to be his final encounter altogether after picking up a yellow card against Serbia means that if he picks up one more caution he will be suspended for the visit to Belgium next week.
Bellamy made his debut as an 18-year-old in a friendly against Jamaica in March 1998, and is now Wales’ third highest cap winner and fifth highest scorer, but he is now in a reflective mood about his time in the red shirt.
“I’m just grateful for every game I’ve been lucky enough to play for my country, and I really mean that,” Bellamy added.
“It’s an honour to play for your country at any level at any sport.
“[Playing] 70-odd times, it’s been the best. Even the disappointments, even the lows, even the times I didn’t want to play again because sometimes defeats can do that to you.
“Seventy-odd times having that honour like singing the anthem …. it’s still the best and Friday will be the best and hopefully I will get the chance to do it again on Tuesday. [It] will be hard to let go.
“My daughter will probably come out with me [before the Macedonia game] but it will probably hit me more after it… when you’re watching the team.”