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Report: Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu retires from international football

Out of nowhere!

International Champions Cup 2016 - Leicester City v Barcelona Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

So this came out of absolutely nowhere, and it's somewhat shocking news after a fiasco on Friday.

According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, Jérémy Mathieu has retired from international football, and sent a statement to the French Federation about his decision. The Barcelona center-back will be replaced by Valencia's Eliaquim Mangala in France's next two international matches.

Mathieu's decision is a surprise, but it's understandable after a very strange situation that developed on Friday. Mathieu was called up by France manager Didier Deschamps to represent Les Bleus in the European Qualifying matches against Bulgaria (October 7) and Netherlands (October 10) next month. Barça full-back Lucas Digne was also named in France's squad.

Then, a few hours after releasing the list, the French Federation announced that Mathieu was pulled out from the games after a "conversation" between Deschamps and the player. As soon as that announcement came out, Mathieu decided to retire, and communicated his decision to the national team officials.

The 33-year-old missed out on Euro 2016 despite working hard to recover from a serious knee injury in time to play the European Championships. Mathieu doesn't think he'll be a key piece of the squad and make it to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, so his decision to not play for France anymore is understandable. But it's surprising.

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