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Van Nistelrooy won't wear orange anymore

Latest update : 2008-08-05

The Netherlands' top striker, Ruud Van Nistlerooy, is retiring from international football. The 32-year-old forward will keep on playing for his club Real Madrid but doesn't think he can handle playing for his national team at the same time.

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has retired from international soccer, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said on Monday.

It said the 32-year-old had informed Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk he would no longer be available for the Dutch team after deciding he could not perform to his best for both club and country.

"After studying the schedule of Real Madrid and the Dutch team I realised ... playing for both teams would mean too tough a physical load for me and therefore I made this choice," Van Nistelrooy was quoted as saying.

"I'm taking no chances and after the enjoyable Euro finals I can look back upon (my decision) with a good feeling," he said.

Van Nistelrooy won 64 caps and scored 33 goals for the Dutch team after making his debut in 1998.

The former Manchester United striker missed Euro 2000 with a knee injury but scored four goals at his first major tournament, the next European Championship finals in Portugal in 2004.

At the 2006 World Cup in Germany he scored once and twice at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland where the Netherlands were upset by Russia in the quarter-finals.

Van Nistelrooy's decision came as a surprise to Van Marwijk, who succeeded Marco van Basten as national team coach on July 1.

"I had a comprehensive conversation with Ruud and I can do nothing else but respect his decision," Van Marwijk said.

"I regret it that I can't use his quality and experience when I compose my squad but I wish him all the best at Real Madrid."

The Dutch will play their first international friendly under the new coach on Aug. 20 in Moscow against Dutchman Guus Hiddink's Russia.

Van Nistelrooy joined Real from United in July 2006 for a 15 million euro ($23.39 million) transfer fee. He had joined the English club from PSV Eindhoven in April 2001 for a then British record of 19 million pounds ($37.39 million).

Date created : 2008-08-04

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