Nesta retires from Italian national soccer team

AC Milan star Alessandro Nesta announced Wednesday he's retiring from Italy's national soccer team.

AC Milan star Alessandro Nesta announced on Wednesday he's retiringfrom Italy's national soccer team.

Regarded as one of the best defenders in soccer, Nesta, 31, hasn't played for Italy since injuring his right thigh at last year's World Cup in Germany.

Nesta is the second high-profile player to walk away from the Italian national team — Francesco Totti, a playmaker with AS Roma, announced his international retirement last month.

"I'm sorry because I have always clung to this jersey, but physically, I can't play all these games any more," Nesta told reporters at a news conference in Milan.

Nesta, who made 78 appearances for Italy from 1996 to 2006, added that he hoped his decision would allow him to prolong his club career with AC Milan.

"I'm very sorry, but I can't keep playing in all these games. If I want to keep myself at the top level, I need to rest a bit," Nesta said.

The Italian underwent shoulder surgery last December before returning to help Milan beat English side Liverpool in the Champions League in May in Athens.

He started his pro career with Rome-based club Lazio in 1993 and joined Milan in 2002, recently signing a contract extension through 2011.