STEVEN Defour has announced his retirement from international football after losing his fitness battle to make Belgium's World Cup squad.

The Clarets midfielder has been a major doubt for the tournament since undergoing knee surgery in January and he was left out of Roberto Martinez's initial 28-man squad for the tournament.

Defour had been a regular feature of Martinez's Red Devils squad and had won 52 caps for his country, but having missed out on Russia this summer he has now decided to call time on his international career.

The 30-year-old, in a video message on his Twitter page, said he had made the decision to try extend his career at club level.

He has a year remaining on his Turf Moor deal, with the option of a further year.

In the message, Defour said: "I have been working hard for the World Cup over the last few months. In the beginning it was quite clear that it would become a mission impossible. That has also come true.

"I'm not going to the World Cup for obvious reasons.

"I always thought that the World Cup would be one of my last actions as an international. Partly due to some serious injuries I want to practice my career as long as possible and for that I can concentrate everything on club level.

"I have had a very long career as an international. I had a great time and would like to thank everyone for it, from staff to players and supporters.

"But there are many players ready and there is a new generation coming. I wish them all the best. "