Does International Retirement Guarantee Club Success?

Samri Nasri has called time on his international career with France at the age of 27, stating that “everything” about the national team makes him unhappy.

The Manchester City player is far from the first footballer to retire from international football early. We look at some others and how it affected their club careers.

Paul Scholes

International Soccer ... Le Tournoi de France ... England v Italy

It seems preposterous that a footballer with Paul Scholes’ qualities won only 66 caps for England, retiring from national duty in 2004 at the age of 29, ten years before his club career came to an end.

The Manchester United legend got tired of being played out of position to accommodate the ultimately unsuccessful pairing of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in central midfield.

In 2010, Fabio Capello made advances to tempt Scholes back into the fold for the World Cup in South Africa but the player rejected the offer. He has since revealed he may have made a mistake, and regrets not playing in another World Cup.

His international retirement certainly helped his club career, with Scholes picking up five Premier League titles, a Champions League and a couple of League Cup winners medals during his international exile.

Alan Shearer

Soccer - Under 21 - Friendly - England v Germany

Shearer notched 27 goals in 52 outings for England before calling it a day at the age of 29.

The striker cited family reasons for his unexpected decision after Euro 2000, adding that he hoped the decision would help his sharpness and fitness for Newcastle United.

Speculation was rife before the 2002 World Cup and 2004 European Championships that the player could be lured back, but Shearer was not for moving.

He went on to play another six seasons at club level, becoming the Premier League’s all-time top scorer in the process.

Francesco Totti

Soccer - Italian Federation Centenary Match - Italy v FIFA World Stars

Francesco Totti sure went out at the top at international level, making his last appearance for Italy as he lifted the 2006 World Cup. He remained available for the Azzurri after the finals but, having been ignored for several squads, he hung up his international boots 12 months later at the age of 30.

Seven years on he’s still a pivotal figure for his beloved Roma side, and has ignored clamours to reconsider his retirement before many international tournaments Italy have qualified for.

His country’s poor showing at many recent tournaments has often been blamed on the absence of a creative figure like Totti in the side.

Mark Bosnich


While most players retire from international duty for club reasons, others like Mark Bosnich have been exiled simply due to miscommunication.

The former Manchester United and Aston Villa keeper only won 17 caps for the Socceroos, despite enjoying a club career spanning three decades.

Bosnich shunned his national side for most of career, instead concentrating on his career in England, a decision he later came to regret.
While he’d never officially retired from his national side, mixed messages from the player himself and third parties meant he was often overlooked by a succession of Australia managers.

He was suspended by FIFA at the age of 21 for refusing to play in a World Cup play-off against Canada, and his club manager Ron Atkinson said it wouldn’t happen again as he’d “retired from international football”.

He did return but his 17 caps is a paltry return for someone who enjoyed such a successful and lengthy club career.