Spahic retires from international football

The Bayer Leverkusen defender has decided to say farewell to the national team as he wants to focus on his club duties and make way for younger players

Emir Spahic has called time on his international career with Bosnia-Herzegovina following their group-stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil.

The defender wore the captain's armband as his country failed to reach the knockout rounds in their debut appearance at the World Cup last month, finishing behind Argentina and Nigeria in Group F.

And the 33-year-old centre-back - Bosnia-Herzegovina's longest serving captain and second-most capped player - has now announced that he will no longer be available for the national team after 77 appearances.

"I gave it a lot of thought and decided to hang up my national team boots after consultation with my friends and family," Spahic told reporters.

"I am proud to have played in the World Cup with this group and the time has come for younger lads to take over.

"I wish the team all the best in Euro 2016 qualifiers."

Spahic, who made his debut as a substitute against Romania in 2003, stepped down from international duty in an effort to prolong his club career with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, national team coach Safet Susic revealed.

"Spahic told me after the World Cup that he needed a bit of time to make a decision and when he did, he explained that he wanted to focus on his club duties.

"I respect his decision. He was a great player and captain for Bosnia and it will be difficult to replace him."