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‘China’s Sergio Ramos’ quits national side after Singapore ‘disgrace’

China skipper Zhang Linpeng has quit international football after what he called the “disgrace” of a 2-2 draw at Singapore in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.

China’s hopes of reaching the World Cup for only the second time are in the balance after they squandered a 2-0 half-time lead on Thursday.

It was a disappointing start to the reign of new coach Branko Ivankovic, who took over from Aleksandar Jankovic following their meek Asian Cup first-round exit last month.

Wu Lei put China, ranked 88 in the world to Singapore’s 156, 2-0 ahead in first-half stoppage time.

But with Wu also missing a penalty, Singapore made them pay with goals on 53 and 81 minutes as the hosts grabbed an unlikely point.

Zhang, known in China as their answer to Sergio Ramos because of his tattoos and because he also plays centre-back, told reporters in the aftermath that he’d had enough.

“As captain I couldn’t fulfil my role in helping the team and have left the fans disappointed,” he told reporters.

“After careful reflection, I believe it’s time to bring my national career to a close.”

The 34-year-old added: “We can’t even manage to beat Singapore at this point. 

“Personally I find it unbearable. It’s a disgrace.”

China host Singapore on Tuesday in the return fixture.

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