Andre Schembri announces retirement from international football

The national team forward said it was time for him to step aside and let younger players come through

Schembri in action for Malta against England (Photo: Facebook)
Schembri in action for Malta against England (Photo: Facebook)

National team footballer Andre Schembri has announced his retirement from international football, having played for the national team for over two decades.

Schembri, widely considered to be one of the national team’s best player, said in Facebook post that after a great deal of thought, he had decided to retire after Malta’s next two fixtures against Kosovo and the Faroe Islands.

“With over two decades spent within the national team ranks, I feel it is time to stand aside and let the younger players come through,” Schembri wrote on Facebook. “I feel very positive about the new faces being introduced, and it is only right that they have the space to flourish.”

Schembri, who plays for Cypriot club Apollon Limassol, said that at 32, he was nearing the end of his career. “Keeping up with the pace is not easy when playing abroad and I need to concentrate on being physically and mentally prepared for these challenges.”

He said it was an honour and a privilege to have represented Malta at every level from the under-14s upwards.

“I have always been very proud to wear Malta’s shirt. My sincere wishes go to coach Ray Farrugia and all the players for a brighter future,” Schembri added, while thanking all those who had supported him, including his family, supports and technical staff. 

Schembri will retire from the national team with 86 caps, assuming he plays both Malta's remaining Nation's Cup matches. He was famously described by Italian star Andrea Pirlo in his autobiography as one of the toughest players he had ever played against.

Schembri has also been outspoken about the state of Maltese football, arguing back in October 2016 that there were structural problems that went beyond players. Back then Schembri had called for a “whole reshuffle” including in the national team’s youth system.

“You keep interviewing us, but there are 10 people from the MFA here. I think you should interview them instead,” Schembri had told a reported following Malta’s 2-0 loss to England in World Cup qualifier.

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