BERLIN (AP) — Germany defender Per Mertesacker is retiring from the national team, becoming the third member of the World Cup-winning squad to quit.
Mertesacker announced his decision in interviews with ZDF television and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper Friday.
"After 10 fantastic years in the national team, I have reached the decision to step down," ZDF quoted Mertesacker on its website as saying. "It was always important to me to stop at a successful time, and that is the case after winning the World Cup title."
The 29-year-old, capped 104 times, added that many young and fresh players are coming up and "the point simply has come now to make the next step possible for these boys."
The Arsenal defender follows Philipp Lahm and veteran striker Miroslav Klose, who have both walked away from international football since Germany beat Argentina 1-0 last month to win its first World Cup since 1990.
"The national team is in such good shape that I'm not at all worried about three players retiring now," Mertesacker said.
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