John Arne Riise retires from internationals after 110 caps for Norway

Plaudits have been pouring in for Riise in his native Norway. Photo: PA

John Arne Riise, Norway's most capped player, has announced his international retirement.

The 32-year-old Fulham defender has decided to bring the curtain down after making a record 110 appearances during a 13-year career with his country.

Riise said in a press release: "After considering this for a long time I've decided to opt out of future national team games for Norway.

"The decision was taken in consultation with those closest to me, but it has been entirely my own.

"The tough side of the decision is obvious: I've loved every second I've played in the Norway shirt. The good side of the decision is that it feels right."

Riise hopes hanging up his international boots will help prolong his playing career at club level.

He added: "I've entered the last phase of my career and am at the age where I have to make some clear choices if I'm to reach my final goal, to play four or five more years in Europe.

"To achieve this I will now focus fully on club football. I'm no longer 19 years old and therefore the benefits of limiting the wear and tear are quite obvious."

Norway coach Egil Olsen hailed the former Monaco, Liverpool and Roma player, telling the Norweigian football association's website: "He has had an impressive career in the national team, and 110 games is a great achievement.

"John Arne has shown great enthusiasm and was always the first at training and matches. I respect the decision and want to thank him for his contribution."

Norway are midway through their qualification campaign for next year's World Cup finals, lying fourth in Group E on seven points, four behind leaders Switzerland.