Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has called time on his international career after confirming he will no longer represent Gabon.
Having represented France at youth level, the former Arsenal striker switched allegiances for senior football and became the Panthers’ record scorer, finding the net 30 times in 72 appearances since his first cap in 2009.
Aubameyang has captained the national team for a number of years and also scored their first ever Olympic goal during the London 2012 games. His final swansong should have come at this year’s African Cup of Nations, but before Gabon’s first game, he contracted Covid. Shortly after that, he returned to north London for further medical tests following a diagnosis of “cardiac lesions”.
However, the precautionary tests are understood to have not shown anything that will impact his playing time, subsequently completing a January deadline day move to Barcelona. Having been frozen out by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, the 32-year old has looked back to his best for the Blaugrana, scoring 13 times in the second half of the season.
And Aubameyang will now be able to put full focus into his exploits at the Camp Nou, after Gabon’s Football Federation, released an official statement confirming his intention to retire from the national team.
The press release reads: “The captain of the Panthers will no longer be with the national team for the next qualifiers, the final phase of which is scheduled in Cote d’Ivoire. The FC Barcelona striker has decided to end his international career and sent a letter to the Gabonese Football Federation (FEGAFOOT) on May 17, 2022.
“After 13 years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I am ending my international career. I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in good and bad times.
“I will keep a lot of good memories, like the day I made my debut or the day I came back from Nigeria with the African Ballon d’or. Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment.
“I thank our President, his excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country. I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.
“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have him proud by wearing our colours.”
In 2015, Aubameyang became the first Gabonese player to win the African Footballer of the Year, an honour won most recently by Liverpool star Sadio Mane.