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Adebayor ponders his international future after Togo exit

Emmanuel Adebayor says he will have to reconsider his future as a Togo international following his country's elimination at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. AFP/Issouf Sanogo

Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor hinted he might turn his back on international football following an emotional 3-1 defeat against Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday in Port-Gentil.

The 32-year-old striker featured in all of Togo’s three matches during the 2017 Cup of Nations despite not having played any competitive football since May.

Adebayor, who once terrorised defences while playing for leading clubs such as Arsenal, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, was released by Crystal Palace at the end of the 2015/16 season in the English Premier League and has been without a side since.

Speaking after the loss that terminated Togo’s involvement, Adebayor said: "I didn't come here to search for a club. I came here to play and represent my country and I think I've done that quite well. "Now we are out I am just going home and I'll call my manager and see if there are some clubs that are interested in me."

Togo caused an upset on the opening day of games in Group C when they drew 0-0 with defending champions Cote d’Ivoire. The Ivorians never appeared to recover from the setback and exited the competition on Tuesday following a 1-0 defeat I nOyem against Morocco who advance to the last eight for the first time in 13 years.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger brought Adebayor to England from Monaco in 2006. He stayed with the north Londoners for three years scoring 62 goals in 142 appearances. He left Arsenal for a more lucrative contract at Manchester City. He played briefly in Spain at Real Madrid followed by a return to England at Tottenham Hotspur.

"You know how much I love the Premier League even though I am not the most loved player in England. I have done it for the last 10 years in the Premier League," he added, while also admitting that he will have to ponder his future with his country.

Togo’s next objectives are the qualifying campaigns for the 2018 World Cup in Russia as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Coach Claude Le Roy might not be able to count on one of his most experienced players.

"I don't know yet if I will continue with the national team or not,” said Adebayor. “I don't want to take any decision right now. It's going to be a hard one to take. I'm going to sit down with the manager and see how I can be involved in the national team," he added.

Le Roy, who was taking charge of a sixth different country at a ninth Cup of Nations, said Adebayor had been exemplary. "It's unbelievable what he did during these eight days with the national team. Three games in a row at this level having not had any games for eight months," said the 68-year-old.

"We trained every morning with him for four and a half weeks in Lomé before the tournament. At 7:30, 8am he was there with all my staff. I'm sure that if he does get into a club he will be great in the next few months because he showed to everybody that he was at the level."