Russia’s Mario Fernandes retires from international soccer

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia right-back Mario Fernandes retired from international soccer at the age of 30 on Monday in an attempt to prolong his club career.

Fernandes played one friendly game for his native Brazil in 2014 but switched allegiance to Russia while playing for CSKA Moscow. Since his debut in 2017, he played 33 times for Russia, including every game of Russia’s run to the World Cup quarterfinals on home soil in 2018.

Fernandes headed an extra-time equalizer in the World Cup quarterfinal against Croatia but missed his penalty in the resulting shootout as Russia lost 6-5.

His last game for Russia was also against Croatia, a 0-0 draw in World Cup qualifying on Sept. 1.

“Each time it becomes more and more difficult to compete on two fronts and more and more time is needed for recovery after games,” Fernandes said in a statement from CSKA. “Unfortunately injuries have become more frequent too.”

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