Cameroon’s Alex Song announces his retirement from international football
Cameroon midfielder Alex Song has announced his immediate retirement from international football.
The on-loan West Ham player has not played for his country since being sent off against Croatia in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup and had also been left out of their squad for the upcoming African Nations Cup.
However, the Hammers feared they would lose Song for the rest of the month after he flew back to his homeland to discuss his international future with the Cameroon Football Federation and the possibility of appearing in the continental cup competition.
Those fears have now been allayed, with Song announcing in a statement released to Press Assoscation Sport that he has decided to quit the national team.
"Since the World Cup in the summer and my subsequent exclusion from the Cameroon squad for the African Cup of Nations I have taken the decision to retire from international football," he said.
"It is true that there were some discussions of late to include me in the squad for this tournament but I feel after a lot of careful thought and numerous discussions with my family this is the right decision.
"My love for my country will never change but I want to take time to focus purely on domestic football and start to rebuild my career at West Ham United. I wish Cameroon all the best and the team will always be in my heart."
Song joined West Ham on a season-long loan from Barcelona last August having struggled to hold down a first-team berth at the Spanish giants following his Â£15million move from Arsenal in 2012.
The 27-year-old has played a major role in the Hammers’ impressive form this season and manager Sam Allardyce recently spoke about his hopes of being able to tie the midfielder down to a long-term deal.
West Ham have slipped to seventh in the Barclays Premier League standings after winning just one of their last five games, but are still only five points behind third-placed Manchester United.
Song made his Cameroon debut against Morocco in November 2005 and has won 49 caps for his country.
His last appearance finished in ignominious fashion though, shown a straight red card in a 4-0 World Cup defeat for striking Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic in the back with his elbow in an off-the-ball incident before half-time.
Song was handed a three-match ban for that incident, ruling him out of Cameroon’s final group match against Brazil, and he has not played for his country since.
Cameroon lost 4-1 to Brazil to finish bottom of Group A with no points and only one goal scored.