ADD Juani Guirado to the list of veteran Azkals who have recently called time on their international careers.
After Rob Gier, Jerry Lucena, and Paul Mulders, the 36-year-old defender is set to retire from the Philippine national football team after playing for over 30 matches and scoring one goal for the Azkals since 2012.
Guirado had been contemplating about his decision for a few weeks and finally announced his retirement on Monday in the pre-match press conference of the Azkals World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying match against North Korea set on Tuesday night.
“I feel I’m still young, but my body can’t accept anymore all the games in the national team plus in the club, playing at a very high level,” the Ceres-La Salle center-back said.
“I just want to have more focus on my team and my family,” added the cousin of Rain or Shine assistant coach Caloy Garcia and brother of former Azkal Angel Guirado.
The departure of Gier and Guirado has left a gaping hole in the central midfield, but Guirado believes the future is in good hands, particularly mentioning Amani Aguinaldo as the cornerstone.
“I’m happy because we have a future in football in the Philippines with the new generation,” said Guirado, who will skipper the Azkals in his farewell match on Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium
“Today, I can say more than ever, I’m proud to be Filipino,” the Filipino-Spanish booter concluded. “Laban Pilipinas!”