New Delhi: India captain Climax Lawrence, who led the team to the SAFF Cup title in December, retired from international football on Tuesday after being unceremoniously dropped by coach Savio Medeira from the 30-probables for the AFC Challenge Cup in March.
The Dempo midfielder told IANS from Pune that he was hurt with the way he was dropped from the national team. Lawrence said Savio called him Monday to say that he was dropping the veteran midfielder from the national team.
"I had to retire. Age is not on my side. But this is not the way you treat a senior player. During the SAFF Cup, Savio said I have two years of international football left in me. And now he does a U-turn," said Lawrence, who had also captained the team in the Asian Cup last year in the absence of injured Bhaichung Bhutia.
"If he had told me earlier then I would have retired after the SAFF Cup or the friendly against Bayern Munich. It really hurts to be treated badly after serving the country for more than a decade," he said.
Lawrence, who also led the team in the World Cup qualifiers last year, during the SAFF Cup had indicated that he would take a call on his international career after the tournament.
"I was thinking about retirement and thought I would hang up my boots after the AFC Challenge Cup. But it was not to be. I am retiring with a heavy heart," he said.
Lawrence, however, will be continue his club career with Dempo.
"I will continue playing club football as long as I can," he said.
Lawrence started his career with Salgaocar in 1998 and after a six-year stint shifted to East Bengal. He joined Dempo in 2005 after a season with East Bengal.
Lawrence was first called up by former national coach Stephen Constantine in 2002 and since then was part of the national team till the SAFF Cup in December 2011. Lawrence was part of the victorious India team that won the 2007 and 2009 Nehru Cup and the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008.