Matic retires from international football

Friday 28 August 2020 16:53

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has retired from international football at the age of 32.

Nemanja, who made his national team debut in 2008, earned 48 caps for Serbia and scored two goals in that period.

He last represented Serbia in October 2019 and was part of the squad who played at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Nemanja played in all three of Serbia's games at the 2018 World Cup.
While the United central midfielder is yet to officially make an announcement, Vladimir Matijasevic, the director of the Serbia Football Association, confirmed Nemanja’s decision on Friday afternoon.

“Other than saying it was time for younger players to take over, Matic did not state any other specific reasons for quitting,” he said. “We respect his decision. He is 32 years old and he's had an exerting club season. European club football is demanding and hence we are aware that we'll have to inject fresh blood into the national team.

“We talked a few days ago. I called him on the phone, we also agreed to have coffee, if our time and obligations allow it. It was an extremely pleasant and fair conversation. He is determined to put an end to his national team career. The head coach also spoke to him, about which you will surely hear more at a press conference on Monday. That is Nemanja's decision that we must respect.”
Nemanja’s international career began in December 2008 when he played in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Poland.

During the intervening years, the midfielder became a mainstay of the national side and even captained the team in a 1-0 victory over Lithuania in September 2018.

Serbia can still qualify for next summer’s European Championship, if they beat Norway in a play-off game in October, with the winner facing Scotland or Israel for the chance to compete at the 24-team tournament in 2021.

Matic’s decision means he will have a reduced fixture schedule in the coming years, something that should help prolong his club career.

The 32-year-old was a vital part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign, having missed the majority of the opening months through injury.

Nemanja played in all but one of our last 19 league games and didn’t miss a single domestic outing following the resumption of football after Project Restart.

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.