DUSSELDORF: Former Germany defender Benedikt Howedes has ended his footballing career for family reasons, the latest 2014 World Cup winner to hang up his boots.
Hoewedes, 32, told Der Spiegel news magazine in extracts from an interview made available ahead of Saturday's publication that he realised during a recent holiday "how fulfilling it was for me to experience my son up close.
"Football suddenly became so unimportant to me," Howedes said, adding that not even offers from several clubs would make him change his mind.
Hoewedes won 44 Germany caps and was a starter as left back in all games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where the team won the title.
In Germany, he joined Schalke at the age of 13 and played there until 2017 when he was stripped of the captaincy by then new coach Domenico Tedesco and not picked by him. Howedes left for Juventus on loan and spent the last two years at Spartak Moscow.
"I knew that the business was tough. But I had always only got to know the sunny side. Then I got the full broadside," he said of his end at Schalke.
Howedes' retirement comes two weeks after that of Andre Schurrle, another 2014 World Cup winner, ended his career at age 29.
There are also question marks around the future of Mario Gotze, who scored the winner in the 2014 final and did not have his contract at Borussia Dortmund renewed.
Like Schuerlle, Howedes was critical of the current state of football, saying "it has developed in a very brutal way. And distanced itself more and more from the normal fans. Something is being lost.” – dpa