Russia keeper Malafeyev puts international career on hold

Reuters

Mon, 27 Aug 16:42:00 2012

Russia and Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev has decided to take an indefinite break from international duty just days before the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The 33-year-old, whose wife Marina was killed in a car crash in March last year, said he wanted to spend more time with his two young children.

"Quitting the national team was a very difficult decision both in human as well as professional terms but at the moment it is the best one for my family," the keeper said on his website (www.malafeev16.ru) on Monday.

Malafeyev said he had already informed Russia coach Fabio Capello about his decision to stop playing in the national team for the time being.

The St Petersburg native has replaced CSKA Moscow keeper Igor Akinfeyev as Russia number one this year, starting all three of his country's group matches at Euro 2012.

Malafeyev has 29 international caps after making his Russia debut in a Euro 2004 playoff against Wales in November 2003.

Akinfeyev, 26, will likely regain his first-choice status when Russia open their World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Northern Ireland on Sept. 7. They face Israel four days later.

 

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