Tunisia captain Chokri El Ouaer has spoken out about his shock decision to retire just four weeks before the World Cup.
The goalkeeper said he had taken the decision on health grounds because of a strangulated hernia in his back.
"The strong pains that I constantly feel in my back are pushing
me to stop all physical activity," he said.
" I feel I am not at my full capacity to serve the team as I used to do.
"My decision is made."
This is the third time El Ouaer has declared his intention to quit.
On both previous occasions he was persuaded back into the squad by both his club and country.
But El Ouaer, who has won 100 caps for Tunisia, said he had taken the decision to avoid letting the fans down.
"I don't want to go to the World Cup and do a disservice to Tunisian football," he said.
"I could grit my teeth and go to Japan but my conscience won't allow it.
"I'm suffering a lot and I can't sleep at night," he added.
The surprise announcement came after El Ouaer missed his club Esperance's last league game of the season on Tuesday, when
they beat CO Transport 2-0 in Tunis.
El Ouaer has spent the past 15 years at the club, except for a six-month spell at Genoa in Italy's Serie B last year.
The club chairman Slim Chiboub said El Ouaer's retirement would leave a "gap" in the squad.
"We will look for an alternative to fill the gap and the void left by Chokri's departure, all the team will strive to help in this task."