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Russia’s Ignashevich retires after WCup exit

July 8, 2018
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Croatia's Luka Modric, right, vies for the ball with Russia's Sergei Ignashevich during the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

MOSCOW (AP) — Defender Sergei Ignashevich has announced his retirement from football after Russia lost to Croatia in the World Cup quarterfinals.

The 38-year-old holds the Russian record for most international appearances with 127 and his last act on a football field was to convert a penalty in Saturday’s shootout loss to Croatia.

“I feel pleasure and peace because I’m finishing on a high note by playing at the World Cup, in a quarterfinal with an excellent team and an excellent coach,” he said in a video statement released by the Russian team.

He added that he would have retired as professional footballer earlier if not for the World Cup and now plans to become a coach.

Ignashevich started all five of the host nation’s games at the World Cup, as Russia generally played a deep defensive line which compensated for his lack of speed.

He won the UEFA Cup with CSKA Moscow in 2005, as well as six Russian titles, five with CSKA and one with Lokomotiv Moscow.

He spent almost two years out of international football following Russia’s group stage exit from the 2016 European Championship but made a surprise return to the national squad in May.

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