Vietnamese striker Nguyen Anh Duc, who turns 34 this year, has officially retired from international football after playing his last match with the national team against archrivals Thailand in the second round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Tuesday.
The veteran Vietnamese forward announced his retirement in a post on his verified Facebook account on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours before the game between Vietnam and Thailand kicked off at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.
“Every journey has an end,” he wrote.
“I feel honored to have played for and contributed to the Vietnam national team alongside generations of football talents.”
Duc told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he had planned his retirement for a long time, but it was not until recently that he was given a nod of approval by head coach Park Hang Seo.
“Park has considered my request for a long time and he thinks that [the Vietnam-Thailand match], which is also Vietnam’s last international game in 2019, is suitable timing [for me to retire],” Duc said.
In his Facebook post, Duc also expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese football fans for their love and support.
“Throughout this journey, the Vietnam national team and I have received much support, encouragement, and love from fans,” the post reads.
“I want to thank you all for your love and support. I wish Vietnam more success and achievements in the future.”
|Nguyen Anh Duc hugs a teammate after their scoreless tie against Thailand in the second round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in Hanoi, November 19, 2019. Photo: N.K / Tuoi Tre|
Nguyen Anh Duc made his national team debut in 2006 at the age of 21.
However, Duc only rose to stardom late in his career since he began playing under coach Park Hang Seo in 2017, when he was already 32.
The last time Duc competed in the jersey of the national team before his 2017 return was in the 2010 AFF Championship where Vietnam were defeated by Malaysia in the semifinals.
He was named among Vietnam’s top ten Athletes of the Year in 2018 and was the team’s top goalscorer at the 2018 AFF Championship, which wrapped up with Vietnam lifting the trophy in Hanoi in December last year.
Duc was awarded the 2015 Vietnam Golden Ball when captaining Vietnamese club Becamex Binh Duong in the country's top-tier V-League 1.
He has won four V-League 1 titles with Becamex Binh Duong, while his only major international honors are fourth place in men’s football at the 2018 Asian Games and first place in Southeast Asia's 2018 AFF Championship.
In Tuesday night’s game, which ended in a goalless draw, the 34-year-old received a round of applause from spectators at My Dinh National Stadium when he came on to the field as a substitute and played for less than ten minutes in the second half.
Despite retiring from international football, Duc will continue his club career with Becamex Binh Duong.