- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

PARIS (AP) - French defender Jeremy Mathieu is quitting international football to focus on his club career with Barcelona.

A day after he was removed from the France squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Mathieu told Saturday’s edition of L’Equipe newspaper that he lacks “the motivation to keep going.”

France coach Didier Deschamps did not specify why he had removed Mathieu from the squad.

The 32-year-old Mathieu, who has five caps with France, missed the European Championship this year because of a calf injury.

Mathieu said he wants to make room for the younger players who will be playing at the 2018 World Cup if France qualifies.

France hosts Bulgaria on Oct. 7 at the Stade de France before traveling to play the Netherlands three days later in Group A.

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