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Pandev ends retirement from national team

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Pandev will play for Macedonia again; photo: Gogo JovcevPandev will play for Macedonia again; photo: Gogo JovcevGoran Pandev will rejoin the Macedonian squad after a two year absence following his premature retirement.

Positive news on this Tuesday. Goran Pandev is returning to the Macedonian national team. After a meeting between Pandev and Igor Angelovski earlier today in Genoa, it was agreed that Pandev will once again make himself available to Macedonia.

The 32-year-old Pandev will return next month when the national team plays two friendlies. He will then also be available for the 2018 World Cup qualifications. One of the main reasons for Goran's return is the fact that Italy is in the same group as Macedonia for those qualifiers. Pandev has always wanted to face Italy, a country that he considers a second home, so that will now come to fruition.

Goran last played for Macedonia in October of 2013 against Wales. He retired shortly thereafter, citing several factors. Pandev was fed up with the federation, and he was also not happy about the treatment from fans.

Pandev with Angelovski; photo: Igor AngelovskiPandev with Angelovski; photo: Igor Angelovski

The news, which was announced on FFM's website, also included this quote from the player himself, "I am happy to once again be part of the Macedonian national team. I talked with the new manager and I am ready to rejoin the squad. A long time has passed since my last appearance, and truthfully it wasn't easy for me. To the contrary, I took things hard concerning the situation with the national team. However, that is a period behind us. Now we have another purpose, to unite and try to be successful. Every national team needs support and I believe that together we can manage to raise the quality and motivation."

Pandev is a respected name who has proven himself on the biggest stage with clubs like Lazio, Inter and Napoli, so his return is welcome news. All of the players look up to Pandev. Him returning will raise the prestige within the national team and add some much needed energy to what has been a dead atmosphere.

It is true that Goran's best years are behind him, but his mere presence can do a lot to overcome the difficult situation. Pandev is still an upgrade over the current options in attack, and his availability should improve the morale among the rest of the players.

Lastly, this is a big get for coach Igor Angelovski. It will bode well for him as he looks to lock down the managerial position beyond the two November friendlies.

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