Ghana's all-time record goalscorer Asamoah Gyan sent shock waves through his country after announcing his international retirement a month ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He also explained why.
The 33-year-old, who has scored 51 goals for the Black Stars and is to date the African player with most strikes at the FIFA World Cup (six), opted to retire from national team duty on the day coach Kwesi Appiah was expected to announce his provisional AFCON squad.
The Kayserispor striker was believed to be in the squad initially, despite last featuring in a game for Ghana in September 2017.
He was still Ghana's official captain to this date, but released a statement on Monday evening saying he will retire because the coach wanted to take the captaincy off him for the upcoming AFCON.
"Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament," an excerpt from his retirement letter, which Gyan published on social media, read.
"I also wish to retire from the national team permanently; not pretending my presence would not fuel the purported undermining the country has seen under my captaincy.
"I would like to also thank journalists and all my fans who have supported and travelled the world with the team. I wish the technical team and the players the best of luck."
You can read Gyan's full statement in his retirement letter below:
The news comes as a shock to Ghana, who last won the AFCON in 1982. The Black Stars will kick off their 2019 AFCON campaign against Benin on 25 June, before facing Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau in the rest of their Group F encounters.
Gyan retires with 51 goals in 106 appearances for his country, becoming the first player in history to score in nine successive major international tournaments – a record that was matched by Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
What's your best memory of Asamoah Gyan? Have your say in the comments section below.