Pauleta quits international soccer
"This is the saddest day of my career. Playing for this team, scoring for this team was what I most loved doing but my time has come," the 33-year-old striker told Portuguese TV reporters in Stuttgart.
"It's a very difficult moment because I expected to end by scoring once again but that wasn't possible," he added in comments broadcast on SIC television.
Pauleta played 88 times for Portugal, scoring 47 goals, making him the nation's all-time leading scorer, beating Eusebios record of 41 goals in 64 matches.
After he failed to score at Euro 2004, which Portugal hosted, critics called for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to drop him from the national team.
The Brazilian kept him on and he went on to become the most prolific scorer in European World Cup qualifying with 11 goals.
But during the World Cup finals Pauleta was able to score only once -- during Portugal's 1-0 win over tournament newcomer Angola in the group stage.
Portugal midfielder Luis Figo and Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn also announced international retirement after the match.
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