Ashraf Nu'man announces international retirement

Ashraf Nu'man took to his Facebook page yesterday to announce his decision to retire from the Palestinian national team. It has been a tumultuous 18 months for the man once considered to be the best- but least known- talents in Asia. A particularly difficult season last year saw the Bethlehem born attacker leave Wehdat after six months with no goals to his name and a move to Saudi Pro League bottom feeders Hajer hardly proved to be the right change of scenery.

The 30-year old hangs up his boots as Palestine's joint-top leading goal scorer with 14 goals in 53 caps.

He released the following statement on the issue:

"After a period of deep thinking over the past week, I have decided to announce my retirement from international football after a period of nine years that were the most beautiful, amazing, and fulfilling years.... The reason for my retirement are due to personal reasons that I cannot reveal that prevent me from fully committing to the national side..."



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He first broke into the national side in 2007 and although it took him 15 caps to notch his first goal there were unmistakable flashes of brilliance. Most notably an audacious effort from midfield in a 2012 Challenge Cup qualifier against the Philippines that hit the crossbar.

His time with former national team manager Jamal Mahmoud proved to be the apex of his career, with 13 goals in 30 games en route to 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification.

Under the stewardship of Abdel-Nasser Barakat, Ashraf Nu'man was accused of feigning injury for the first World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia. The national team staff then took the decision to hold him out of the next three qualifying matches.

In the return fixture, he missed a sitter that could have given Palestine a crucial win over the group leaders.

More controversy brewed as the forward was unexpectedly chopped from Palestine's starting XI vs. UAE in March despite having trained with the starters the day before the match.

What appears to be his final game- the 7-0 win over Timor Leste- drew the ire of many supporters for his perceived selfish and wasteful play.

In his place, Abdel Nasser Barakat is expected to count on domestic options such as Tamer Seyam & Sameh Mar'aba as well as the likes of Jaka Ihbeisheh, Jonathan Cantillana, and Ahmed Awad.