Benfica striker Rafa Silva, European champion with Portugal in 2016, announced on Monday his retirement from the Portuguese national team at the age of 29 for personal reasons.
The soccer player, who had been called up for the next two League of Nations matches, informed the coach, Fernando Santos, on Monday of his "non-availability to represent the national team", according to a statement published on Benfica's official website.
“I ask that the reasons, of a personal forum, be respected by all. I represented the national teams 40 times , helped them win Euro 2016 and the Nations League and I will always be on the front row supporting all of our teams”, he stated.
The player pointed out that it is an “honest and correct decision at this point in his career” and said that he is “sure” that the team “will continue to bring joy to the Portuguese, of course in the League of Nations and in the World Cup. 2022”.
Rafa Silva was also part of the Portuguese team that won the European Championship in 2016 in France together with Cristiano Ronaldo and in important games he started in the eleven of the Portuguese team, so his resignation is unexpected for the fans.
In the current season he had 7 games played in the League with 4 goals and 3 assists. He also scored a goal against Maccabi Haifa in the UEFA Champions League, which was considered one of the best goals of the first phase of the tournament.
The Directorate of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said that it "respects" the striker's decision.
“Rafa will forever be one of us and he has our recognition and thanks,” he assured.
Rafa Silva has 40 appearances with the different levels of the Portuguese national team, 25 of them with the senior team, with which he made his debut in 2014 in a friendly with Cameroon.
With the senior team he did not score goals, but his help was expected in Group H of the 2022 Qatar World Cup in which they will be together with Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana.
He has been a Benfica player since 2016, when he arrived from Braga, and has a contract until June 30, 2024.