Former Liverpool & Southampton defender Dejan Lovren announces international retirement with Croatia
- Lovren made debut in 2009
- Has announced international retirement
- Leaves Croatia after winning bronze in Qatar
WHAT HAPPENED? The 33-year-old revealed he would be hanging up his international boots some 14 years after making his debut for Croatia. Lovren, now in his second spell at Lyon having joined from Zenit in January, compared donning the famous Croatia jersey to "putting on Superman's cape" in an emotional farewell statement.
Thank you @HNS_CFF for everything!— Dejan Lovren (@Dejan06Lovren) February 23, 2023
Forever in my heart. ❤️🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/GSebjeEKK8
WHAT THEY SAID?: "The time has come for me to say my final goodbye to the Croatian national team," Lovren wrote in a tweet. "As a child, I dreamt of playing at major tournaments and getting to put on that red-and-white shirt. I put on the Croatian checkers for the first time when I was nine years old and I will never forget that special feeling - like putting on Superman's cape. I felt powerful, confident, and fearless, just like my favourite superhero.
"The most beautiful chapters of my national team story were the ones that we wrote during the past five years. This is, if I'm being honest, still a complete dream to me. So many emotions went through me, especially in 2018 and 2022, and I find it difficult to put these experiences into words. These memories will remain in my heart forever. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: During his near decade-and-a-half long Croatia career, Lovren racked up 78 caps and scored five goals. As he references in his statement, the defender's most successful moments came during his last two World Cup appearances. He featured in every game of Russia 2018 as the Vatreni fell at the last hurdle, a 4-2 defeat to France in the final, before securing the bronze medal in Qatar this winter having seen off Morocco 2-1, which would be Lovren's last tournament for the national team.
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WHAT NEXT FOR LOVREN? The former Reds and Saints defender insists he will "remain a huge supporter of the Vatreni", but his absence from international duty will help him focus on domestic matters with Lyon. The French team are next in action in Ligue 1 on Saturday when they travel to Angers.