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    Shay Given retires from international football

    The Aston Villa goalkeeper made his international debut for Ireland in 1996.

    Dublin: Goalkeeper Shay Given has retired from international football with Ireland after playing a national-record 125 matches across a span of more than 16 years.

    The Football Association of Ireland made the announcement Monday in a statement on Twitter.

    The 36-year-old Given, who plays for Aston Villa, made his international debut in March 1996 against Russia. He played at the European Championship earlier this year in which Ireland bowed out at the group stage after losing all three games to Croatia and finalists Spain and Italy.

    Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni left Given out of his squad for the friendly against Serbia on Wednesday, preferring instead to select younger players after the disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

    "This has been an extremely difficult decision for me to make," Given told the FAI's website. "I have dedicated 16 years of my life to my country, and I have a great affinity with Giovanni Trapattoni's squad.

    "I'd like to thank the Giovanni, (assistant) Marco (Tardelli) and (Ireland goalkeeping coach) Alan Kelly for their support during my time with the team. I will continue to be Ireland's biggest fan, and wish the lads well as they embark upon their new campaign."

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