MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s most-capped player Sergei Ignashevich announced his retirement from soccer on Sunday after the hosts were eliminated by Croatia on penalties in the World Cup quarter-final hours earlier.
The 38-year-old defender, who spent his entire club career at Russian clubs, was a key member of Russia’s run to the last eight at their home tournament, having played in each of their five matches.
According to world soccer’s governing body FIFA he earned a total of 127 caps, scoring nine goals, and holding the record for most international appearances by any Russian player.
Ignashevich also captained CSKA Moscow to the 2005 UEFA Cup title.
“This was my last World Cup, my last tournament and the last match of my soccer career. If it wasn’t for the World Cup, I think I would have ended (my career) earlier,” Ignashevich said in a video posted on social media.
“The World Cup was a strong motivation of me.
“I feel joy, a feeling of peace because I am ending on a high note. I am playing at the World Cup. I am playing in the quarter-finals. I am playing on a great team with a great coach, a real coach and with players who give themselves fully to the game.”
Ignashevich was one of the successful penalty-takers in their 4-3 shoot-out defeat against Croatia and was also on target from the spot when they beat Spain again on penalties in the second round.
“Anything can happen is soccer. But here no one was dissatisfied, not in the dressing room and not on the pitch,” he said.
“I plan to receive a coaching license in December. I would like to become a coach, a good coach.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury