Ljungberg ends Sweden service

Freddie Ljungberg has retired from international football to concentrate on his playing commitments with West Ham United.

The Sweden captain revealed the news on Friday, citing the physical demands of combining his national-team career with his club duties. In a message aimed at Sweden fans, he thanked them for their support but said it was time for someone else to wear the No9 shirt.  "I will carry on playing soccer at the highest level in the Premier League for several more years and I love this sport more than anything," he said. "I have come to the decision to concentrate on playing for my club West Ham United, and that is where my focus will be in the future."

After making his debut in January 1998, Ljungberg won 75 caps for his country, scoring 14 goals, and played at five major finals for his country - including the 2008 European Championship this month. Although the Scandinavian nation was eliminated after the group stage, Ljungberg was widely regarded as being the team's most influential player in his attacking role on the left-hand side of midfield.

The 31-year-old midfielder moved to the Boleyn Ground last summer after spending nine years at Arsenal where he won league and FA Cup winners' medals and appeared in the 2006 Champions League final. He has made 28 league and cup appearances, scoring two goals, for West Ham United. Ljungberg's final game for Sweden was the 2-0 defeat by Russia on 18 June.