No longer Azkals' keeper: Muller retires | Inquirer Sports

No longer Azkals’ keeper: Muller retires

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 02:29 AM March 23, 2017

Screengrab from Roland Muller's Instragam account

Screengrab from Roland Muller’s Instragam account

The talent-laden goalkeeping crew of the Philippine Azkals lost one of their prized members to retirement.

Filipino-German goalkeeper Roland Muller announced his departure from international football on Thursday, ending a six-year stint with the national team which started with a stint with the Under-23 side in the Southeast Asian Games.

Citing the need for more time with his family and focus on his club, Ceres-Negros, Muller pulled out from the Azkals after he was called up for the friendly against Malaysia Wednesday night as well as the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying clash against Nepal on Tuesday.

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The announcement was a surprise considering that Muller is still in his prime at 29 years old. In fact, Muller was in fine form for Ceres in its first three AFC Cup matches recently.

But when it came to the Azkals, Muller had to battle English League One veteran Neil Etheridge for the starting spot—something that sources said hastened the Filipino-German’s decision to quit.

Azkals manager Dan Palami paid tribute to Muller’s efforts to raise the level of the Azkals when he started playing for the team in 2011.

“I’m sure Roland (Muller) thought over his decision,” said Palami. “The Philippines is lucky to have a talented player like Roland represent the country. We wish him luck in his career and life outside international football.”

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Muller’s best games came in the 2014 Challenge Cup in the Maldives, where he helped the Azkals to a finals appearance in the last edition of the tournament.

Known for his shotstopping and agility, Muller came up with huge penalty saves against Turkmenistan and Maldives in the Challenge Cup, underlining his quality.

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Following Muller’s retirement, Azkals coach Thomas Dooley called up Global’s Nicholas O’Donnell to serve as third-choice goalkeeper with Patrick Deyto serving as Etheridge’s chief backup.

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TAGS: goalkeeper, Philippine Azkals, Roland Muller

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