Iran’s Sardar Azmoun has quit international football at the age of 23 after claiming the insults directed at him have impacted his ill mother.
The Rubin Kazan striker completed 90 minutes in each of Iran’s three World Cup games but has now opted to retire, citing the abuse he has received and the effect it has had on his family.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Azmoun wrote: “It was a great honour for me to play in my national team, and I am proud of myself till the end of my life.
“Unfortunately, with all the interest I have, and contrary to the will of my heart, I decided to say goodbye to the national team of my country.”
He added: “There are some things in life that will speak first to you. My mother had overcome a serious illness and I was happy, but unfortunately because of the unkindness of some people – and the insults that me and my team-mates in no way deserved – her illness has become severe.
“This has put me in a difficult position where I must pick one or the other, and as a result I pick my mother.”