Kolo Toure Confirms Retirement from International Football

Ivorian defender Kolo Toure has confirmed his retirement from international football, a week after helping his country win a second Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title.

Toure, 33, had indicated- prior to the start of the 30th edition of Africa’s football showpiece- that the recent tournament in Equatorial Guinea would be his last. He played all six matches as ‘Les Elephants’ claimed a dramatic 9-8 penalty shootout win over Ghana in the Estadio des Bata final.

“It is with great emotion that I inform you that it is time to say goodbye,” Toure addressed local media in Abidjan.

“My goal was to win the Africa Cup of Nations and I must admit that it was a very difficult decision to make.

“I do love my country and especially love football, but at some point, there comes a time to stop.”

Kolo Toure Says He Is Backing Down from International Football. Image: Getty.
Kolo Toure Says He Is Backing Down from International Football. Image: Getty.

Toure, who made his debut against Rwanda in April 2000, said he would end his 15-year international career not by leaving the current Ivory Coast manager with selection heartaches but by introducing his next successor: Rizespor’s Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba.

“He is my successor and will mentor young Eric Bailly and Wilfried Kanon. I rarely make a mistake in my choice, so Viera will perfectly replace me in the team,” he added.

The Liverpool FC defender featured for his country in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments. He also played in seven Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, missing out on the title on two occasions via penalties – at the expense of Egypt in 2006 and to Zambia in 2012.

Toure, who began his career with Abidjan outfit ASEC Mimomsas, moved to Arsenal in 2002 and was part of the ‘Invincibles’ side who went through a whole Premier League season unbeaten.

He joined Manchester City in 2009 before moving to Anfield last summer on a free transfer.