Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuain has confirmed his retirement from the Argentina national team.
The 31-year-old forward had been increasingly snubbed by Argentina in recent months with the likes of Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez and Superliga pair Dario Benedetto and Matias Suarez all preferred to him in recent call-ups.
Higuain’s last goal for Argentina came in October 2016, in a World Cup qualifying draw against Peru, and he failed to score a goal in the World Cup in Russia.
The 31-year-old has decided the time is right to call an end to his Albiceleste career.
“I think that it is over, thinking things through in depth, my time is up,” Higuain told Fox Sports.
“I want to enjoy my family, and my time. To the joy of many, and maybe not so much for others, my time is up.
“You can now stop worrying about whether I am there or not.”
Higuain lost three finals with Argentina alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero and he believes that has led to unfair criticism from some of his detractors.
“We have been called failures for making three straight finals and not winning them, one of those a World Cup,” he added.
“For me failing is something else, but now let them take care of the new players, a lot of people enjoy criticising more than supporting.”
Higuain made his international debut in October 2009 under Diego Maradona and scored on his debut in the 2-1 win over Peru that sealed Argentina’s place in the World Cup the following year.
Higuain scored a hat-trick in Argentina’s 4-1 win over South Korea in the 2010 World Cup, becoming only the third Argentinian to score a hat-trick in the World Cup finals after Guillermo Stábile in 1930 and Gabriel Batistuta in 1994 and 1998 and the first player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup since 2002.
Higuain scored a total of 31 goals in 75 appearances for Argentina, a tally that puts him in sixth place in the Albiceleste’s all-time standings behind Maradona.