Fanis Gekas retires from Greece national team

BY foxsports • September 9, 2010

Greek striker Fanis Gekas ended his international career Thursday, becoming the third player to quit the national team since Fernando Santos was appointed coach.

It is the latest headache for Santos following the recent international retirements of Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Gekas' Eintracht Frankfurt teammate, striker Ioannis Amanatidis.

The team was knocked out in the World Cup group stage under former coach Otto Rehhagel.

The 30-year-old Gekas scored 20 goals in 52 matches for Greece since making his debut in 2005.

''After much thought I decided to quit the national team because of some special circumstances created in it. The competent officials have been informed of my decision,'' Gekas wrote on his blog. ''I want to wish the best of luck to the national team and my teammates and thank everyone whom I worked with.''

Greece has two points from two games in European Championship qualifying. Georgia, Israel, Croatia, Latvia and Malta are also in Group F.

Greece's Football Association had no immediate comment, but the government condemned the recent walkouts.

''Participation in the national team is a great honor for a Greek athlete. It is not a club to come and go at will,'' General Secretary for Sport Sport Bitsaxis said in a statement.

''It is contrary to sporting values for a Greek international, who has been honored by his country, to make statements with particular thoughtlessness and resign from the national team.''

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