John Terry last night quit as an England player – less than 24 hours before the Football Association hearing into the Anton Ferdinand saga was expected to begin.
The controversial Chelsea captain announced his immediate retirement from international football, accusing the FA of making his position "untenable".
The 31-year-old said in a statement: "I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I've played with.
"Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour.
"I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish [manager] Roy Hodgson and the team every success for the future.
"I am making this statement in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.
"I now look forward to playing for Chelsea FC and challenging for domestic and European honours."
Terry denies the charge of using a racist slur against Queen's Park Rangers defender Ferdinand and has vowed to clear his name once and for all, after being found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates Court in July.
A guilty verdict over what is a similar offence under FA rules would have put pressure on the game's governing body to prevent Terry playing for England, having stripped him of the England captaincy while he awaited trial.