Goran Pandev is ready to retire from international football – again.
37-year-old Pandev said on Sunday that North Macedonia’s last group game at the European Championships will be its last.
“Yes, it is for me, the last game in the shirt of the Macedonian national football team,” said Pandev. “I think this is the right moment to say goodbye to the national team.”
North Macedonia will face the Netherlands in Group C on Monday. The Dutch have already won the group and North Macedonia has already been eliminated.
Pandev began his international career in 2001, playing 121 caps for his country, scoring 38 goals.
He hopes that the current generation of players can lead the country to next year’s World Cup without him.
When North Macedonia coach Igor Angelovski took office in 2015, one of his key decisions was convincing Pandev to step out of international retirement. Pandev then scored the goal that secured North Macedonia the spot in Euro 2020 – its first major football tournament.
Pandev has a knack for scoring significant goals.
At the EM 2020 he became the second oldest goalscorer at an EM with his goal against Austria. Ivica Vastic holds the record. The Austrian was 38 years old when he scored against Poland in the 2008 European Championship.
And in March Pandev scored the opening goal of North Macedonia in a 2-1 victory over Germany, the Germans’ first defeat in a World Cup qualifier in 20 years.
After being scouted and signed by Inter Milan at the age of 18, Pandev spent most of his club career in Italy.
He was part of the Inter team, which in 2010 became the first Italian club to win the triple, winning the Serie A, Italian Cup and Champions League titles. He also played for Lazio, Napoli and, since 2015, for Genoa.
He now wants to use the stage at the European Championship to say goodbye to international football.
“I’m happy to say goodbye to the national team in such a big competition,” said Pandev, “because not only my dream, but the dream of the national coach and all the players came true, our country Macedonia in a great competition.”