Luuk de Jong to retire from international football to focus on club matches

Dutch footballer Luuk de Jong announced his retirement from international football on Friday. The 32-year-old PSV striker announced his decision jointly with Dutch football association KNVB.

De Jong was part of the Dutch men’s national team that played in the World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year. He converted a penalty in the penalty shootout during the quarterfinals match against Argentina in which Oranje was eliminated.

“It has always been an honor for me to be part of the Dutch national team. But, for me, now feels like the right time to make this decision, because the Netherlands will start a new qualifying series for the European Championships this month. In the coming years, I want to fully focus on PSV,” said De Jong.

National coach Ronald Koeman did not really expect the attacker’s announcement. “I was somewhat surprised when Luuk called me yesterday, but I understand his explanation that he wants to concentrate 100 percent on PSV. We will miss him” on and off the field, Koeman stated.

The game against Argentina in December was the 39th international match for De Jong, who scored eight times as an international. Originally from the Achterhoek region in the east of the country, he converted his most important goal as an international in October 2019 against Northern Ireland in De Kuip. De Jong put Oranje ahead 2-1 in injury time and the Netherlands took a big step towards the European Championships. That tournament was moved from 2020 to the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

De Jong made his debut in February 2011 under the guidance of former national coach Bert van Marwijk. In addition to the 2022 World Cup and the 2021 European Championship, De Jong was also part of the Dutch national team’s roster for the 2012 European Championship. In the 2019 Nations League Final, De Jong came on the field as a substitute. The Netherlands lost that match to Portugal, 1-0.

In addition to PSV, De Jong played in the Netherlands for De Graafschap and FC Twente. He also played football abroad for Borussia Mönchengladbach, Newcastle United, Sevilla and FC Barcelona.

After this season, De Jong still has two years remaining on his contract with PSV.

Reporting by ANP

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