Gelson Fernandes joins Behrami in retiring from international football

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Gelson Fernandes looks on as he is on the bench for Switzerland’s crucial World Cup Qualification play-off against Northern Ireland in Basel.

Swiss footballer Gelson Fernandes has today decided to retire from international football, a day after Switzerland manager Vladimir Petković reportedly told him he was no longer wanted in the national team.

The 31 year-old today announced via Twitter that he was choosing to retire after eleven years representing Switzerland, calling an end to an international career where he featured in the squad for three World Cups and two European Championships. Fernandes follows fellow defensive midfielder Valon Behrami in choosing to end his international career, which was announced yesterday on Behrami’s Twitter.

This follows reports in Switzerland saying that Petković has cut four long-serving players from the national squad. Although Valon Behrami and Gelson Fernandes have now both announced their international retirement, there remains nothing from the other two players mentioned as having been cut- centre-back Johan Djourou and captain Stephan Lichtsteiner.

However, in a new statement last night, the Schweizer Fussballverband (Swiss FA) stated that Petković has not made any final decisions regarding the future of the team’s senior players, and only held talks with them regarding their future.

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Switzerland manager Vladimir Petković talking to Fernandes during  2018 World Cup preparations. (via Getty Images)

Fernandes played 67 times for his country during his career scoring just twice, with the second of his two goals being the highlight of his career, as he scored the winner in the famous World Cup shock against eventual champions Spain in Durban in June 2010. He was apart of Switzerland’s 2018 World Cup squad but didn’t feature in any of their four games.

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Fernandes scoring against Spain in Switzerland’s shock World Cup win in Durban, June 2010.

In a statement, Fernandes said he had made this decision after “careful consideration” and that he felt it is time to “give the pitch to players of a younger generation”. One of those younger players likely to be given a chance is 22 year-old Edimilson Fernandes, the younger cousin of Gelson who featured in qualifying for the national team but was not selected for the final World Cup squad.

Last season, Fernandes featured 22 times for German club Eintracht Frankfurt, having signed from French club Stade Rennais the previous summer. Born in Cape Verde before moving to Switzerland aged five, he first represented Switzerland’s first team in August 2007 against he Netherlands. Over a career spanning thirteen years, he has played for eleven clubs across six countries in some of Europe’s biggest leagues.

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