LONDON (Reuters) - John Terry brought his long and often controversial England career to an end on Sunday when the Chelsea defender announced his retirement from international soccer.
The 31-year-old, capped 78 times since his debut in 2003, issued a statement saying his position in the national team had become untenable due to the Football Association’s impending case against him.
Terry is due in front of an FA tribunal on Monday facing charges of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand despite being acquitted in the law courts in July.
“I am today announcing my retirement from international football,” the former England captain said in his statement.
”I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps.
”I have had great pleasure in sharing that honor with all the players that I’ve played with. I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career.
“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honor. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision.”
Terry, who if found guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand could face a lengthy ban similar to the one served by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez last season, said the FA had left him in an impossible position.
“I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel The FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable,” Terry, whose last game was in the recent World Cup qualifier in Moldova earlier this month, said.
Terry was stripped of the England captaincy for the second time in February over the allegations, a decision that led England coach Fabio Capello to quit.
The Chelsea stalwart, who regularly put his body on the line for his country and proved himself to be an effective leader, also had the captaincy taken away by Capello in 2010 after revelations about his private life.
editing by Ed Osmond