Larsson to quit international football

Swedish stalwart Henrik Larsson is to quit international football after his country’s final World Cup qualifier against Albania on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old former Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United striker has cited a lack of motivation for international action, and says his impending retirement stands regardless of Sweden’s slim chance of involvement at next summer’s finals in South Africa.

“It's time to make way for other attackers. I'm 38-years-old now and I no longer have the motivation to play for Sweden after the match against Albania,” he conceded.

“I feel that there will be no World Cup for me, even if we do qualify.”

The news comes in the wake of Sweden’s loss to rivals Denmark in qualifying Group 1, meaning they have to beat Albania and hope Portugal slip up against winless Malta if they are to have any chance of making next summer’s showpiece.

“It isn't a very tough decision for me. I will start focusing on a coaching career - it's not likely that I will not commit myself to more championships,” added Larsson, his country’s oldest ever outfield player.

Larsson has scored 37 goals in 106 international appearances for the Scandinavians, first bursting into the spotlight at USA ’94 as Sweden finished third.

After initially retiring in 2002, Larsson came back to steer the Swedes to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

This latest announcement, however, appears set to be a permanent decision, amid growing speculation Larsson will leave football altogether when his club contract with Helsingborgs expires in November.