I must admit, I was shocked when Alexander Ring retired from international play last week. Not only is the Ringmaster entering the prime of his career, he has also been a mainstay with Finland since 2011, accumulating 44 caps in seven years. Add in the fact that he has been an absolute force since arriving to New York City FC last season, and it’s hard to see why the Finnish Destroyer would decide to ply his craft exclusively to the club level from here on out.
The reason: it’s absolute hell on the defensive midfielder’s body.
In an amazing interview with Kyle Schnitzer of the New York Post, Ring said this about his international retirement: “You look at how many times I flew in for the national team and I came back injured every time. I’ve been playing through injuries the last two seasons – at some point, you just have to be honest about your body. Last season, I was injured the last two months and was numbing my foot every game and I couldn’t practice…”
I’m pretty sure we all know a little about trying to balance two extremely difficult things at the same time. And for Ring, he’d rather give all of himself to NYCFC rather than risk injury elsewhere and only be able to give so much of himself to the team’s cause. And that is such an awesome, underrated trait that makes his re-signing with the Blues all that more sweeter.
If you have the time, do check out the full interview linked above. It’s really stellar.