Here is some soccer news for you.
Winston Reid, the former West Ham United midfielder, announced his retirement from international soccer after Sunday’s friendly against Australia in front of home fans in Auckland.
“It is great to have the opportunity to play my final international game in Auckland,” Reid, 34, said in a statement Monday. “It’s going to be nice to come home to the city I grew up in, where I first started playing football.”
The 34-year-old defender, regarded as one of his country’s best, has earned 32 caps for the ‘All Whites,’ nearly half of them as captain.
Reid, who was born in Auckland but reared in Denmark, played for Denmark at the junior level before transferring to New Zealand ahead of the 2010 World Cup, where he scored a famous goal against Slovakia.
“The World Cup was special for me because I was very young and playing and scoring in it was amazing,” he said in a statement.
“It’s something I’ll always be thankful for and grateful for. But I’ve been fortunate enough to have a long career, for both club and country, and captaining the national team has been an honour.”
Despite battling injuries throughout his career, the centre back made more than 200 appearances for West Ham before ending his 11-year association with the London club last year.
While with the Hammers, Reid had loan spells with MLS side Sporting Kansas City and Brentford, where he helped them win promotion to the Premier League.
He also led New Zealand to a sixth-place finish at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, the nation’s best Games performance in the sport.
All Whites coach Danny Hay said ‘Winnie’ had proved that New Zealanders could compete at the elite level.
“Winnie is a true legend of New Zealand football who paved the way for future players, along with other legends like Ryan Nelsen, showing that a Kiwi kid could do it at the highest level of the game,” he added.
New Zealand play Australia in Brisbane on Thursday before heading home for the second friendly in Auckland.
The Socceroos have qualified for the 2022 World Cup, but New Zealand missed out on a place at the Qatar finals after losing a play-off to Costa Rica in June.