Ivory Coast captain Serey Dié put an end to his international career last week, few months after the Elephants’ quarterfinal finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which left many local supporters pessimistic about the future of the 2015 continental champions.
Serey Dié, now 35, spent six years with the Elephants, one of the shortest periods compared to the spells of past skippers of the team. However, he says it changed his life beyond football.
“I used to watch the Elephants on TV and at our local stadium. I was always wishing to be a member, just a member of the team. That would have been enough for me, but I eventually became a captain, and we won the AFCON title too (2015),” he told ACLSports in an exclusive interview.
“Joining the team boosted my professional career and my personality locally and beyond. It was not only a dream come true, it was a dream I lived to the fullest despite the short period. I will never forget the support and love from the authorities, the FA and Ivorians,” he said.
Contrary to the rumours surrounding his retirement from international duty, the former Basel and Stuttgart defensive midfielder says time was up for him to go and that the decision had the blessings of his family.
“I did not retire because I lost that penalty against Algeria (2019 AFCON quarterfinals). I did not retire because I felt the future of the team is bleak. Ivory Coast will revive. I am very sure. The team is under a transition but it’s going to bounce back.
“I retired because I felt I had done enough, and I had the encouragement of my family.”
Ivory Coast are currently 56th on Fifa World Ranking and 10th in Africa.