Kishishev stuns Bulgaria

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The Independent Football

The Charlton defender Radostin Kishishev has stunned the Bulgaria coach, Plamen Markov, by announcing his international retirement. Kishishev admitted that being snubbed for the captain's armband had helped make up his mind.

The former captain Krasimir Balakov retired after a 2-0 win over Albania in April, but his armband was passed on to Celtic's Stilian Petrov after Markov asked the players to name the successor. Kishishev was also upset with the Bulgarian Football Union, claiming they had a lack of interest in him when he was out through injury.

"We had serious talks but I had taken my decision even before the meeting," he said. "Not being given the armband shuffled my thoughts. It made me think of some things I hadn't thought about so far."

Markov was understandably disappointed as he plots to take his side seven points clear of the Belgians in Group Eight and six ahead of second-placed Croatia. "I don't think it's time for him to give up national team football when we have a very important qualifier against Belgium," he said.