New Zealand skipper Reid announces international retirement

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifying Playoffs - Peru v New Zealand - National Stadium, Lima, Peru - November 14, 2017. New Zealand player Winston Reid attends a press conference at National Stadium. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo/Files

(Reuters) – New Zealand captain Winston Reid will retire from international soccer after Sunday’s friendly against Australia in front of home fans in Auckland, the former West Ham United stalwart said on Monday.

The 34-year-old defender, one of his country’s finest players, has been capped 32 times for the ‘All Whites’, with nearly half as captain.

Born in Auckland but raised in Denmark, Reid represented Denmark at junior levels before switching allegiance to New Zealand ahead of the 2010 World Cup where he scored a memorable goal against Slovakia.

“The World Cup was special for me because I was very young and playing and scoring in it was amazing,” he said in a statement.

“It’s something I’ll always be thankful for and grateful for. But I’ve been fortunate enough to have a long career, for both club and country, and captaining the national team has been an honour.”

Despite battling injuries throughout his career, the centre back made more than 200 appearances for West Ham before ending his 11-year association with the London club last year.

He led New Zealand to a sixth-place finish at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, the nation’s best Games performance in the sport.

All Whites coach Danny Hay said ‘Winnie’ had proved that New Zealanders could compete at the elite level.

“Winnie is a true legend of New Zealand football who paved the way for future players, along with other legends like Ryan Nelsen, showing that a Kiwi kid could do it at the highest level of the game,” he added.

New Zealand play Australia in Brisbane on Thursday before heading home for the second friendly in Auckland.

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