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Nesta quits Italian national team

  • Story Highlights
  • AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta has quit international football
  • Nesta won 78 caps for Italy and played in three World Cups
  • Nesta joins Francesco Totti of Roma in retiring from Italy line-up
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MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- AC Milan's Italy defender Alessandro Nesta has retired from international football, he told a news conference on Wednesday.

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Nesta has decided to end his international career after winning 78 caps.

"I'm not going to play for the national side anymore. My adventure in blue finishes here," Nesta said.

The 31-year-old, who has 78 caps, played in three World Cups but his Italy career has recently been dogged by injuries.

Nesta follows Roma's Francesco Totti, who made a similar decision last month, in choosing to concentrate on club commitments.

Nesta was forced to miss last July's World Cup final victory over France because of a groin injury and has only featured once for Italy since October's 3-1 Group B victory against Georgia in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

The former Lazio center back was not included in Roberto Donadoni's squad for the European Championship qualifiers in the Faroe Islands and Lithuania in June after asking to be left out because he was getting married.

However, Donadoni hinted then that the decision may have been final, but the loss of Nesta is another big blow to the coach following Totti's confirmation last month that he had retired from the national team.

Totti, 30, asked to take an extended break from playing for the Azzurri following the World Cup and went on to score 26 Serie A goals last season to scoop the European Golden Boot.

He blamed worries about his health for the decision.

Italy have several options to replace Totti but look stretched at the back with few suitable candidates to cover for ageing central defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Marco Materazzi. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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