Berlin (AFP)

Benedikt Höwedes, 2014 world champion with Germany, is putting an end to his career at 32 for family reasons, the former central defender announced on Friday in an interview with the German daily der Spiegel.

The German (44 caps), indisputable holder throughout the World Cup in Brazil, played for more than a decade at Schalke 04 and had amicably terminated his contract with Lokomotiv Moscow in June.

"I was recently with my wife and son in a motorhome in the South of France. I noticed how happy I was to see my son near me. Football seemed so unimportant to me. ", explained Höwedes.

The German started his professional career with the Ruhr club in 2011, winning a German Cup, before being loaned to Juventus in 2017/2018 and then joining Lokomotiv in 2018.

"My son is 21 months old and during my period in Moscow I was not able to take advantage of it. And I suffered from it", continues the one who has played fifty matches and won a Cup and a Russian Supercup with the club of the Russian capital.

"It's complicated to take the plunge, to give up playing in front of sold-out stadiums. Maybe this period with the coronavirus and these ghost matches was a harbinger," detailed Höwedes.

He also criticized the "brutal" development of football, which "is moving further and further away from the supporters".

Höwedes is the seventh 2014 world champion to hang up his crampons. Two weeks ago, former Dortmund player Andre Schürrle retired to everyone's surprise at just 29 years old.

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