Africa Cup of Nations winner Nicolas Nkoulou announced on Monday that he will be taking a break from international duty with Cameroon.

The Olympique Lyon defender played an enormous part in his nation’s triumph over Egypt in January’s Cup of Nations final. Nkoulou produced a powerful header that found its way into the back of the net securing a 2-1 victory over the Pharaohs and his country’s fifth Cup of Nations title.

Throughout his nine years with the national team, Nkoulou featured for the Indomitable Lions 74 times. During that time, the now 26-year-old had the privilege of captaining his side.

Speaking to the media, Nkoulou stated that after winning the Cup of Nations he feels as though he has accomplished his duty for his country.

“Since the beginning of my career, defending the colors of my country has always guided my steps,” said Nkoulou. “This mission has always constituted a motivating factor and one of my priorities.”

Nkoulou explained that the decision was not an easy one and that it took time to weigh his advantages and disadvantages before reaching his conclusion.

He did leave his country with a glimmer of hope that he will return in the future, stating that ‘a lion never dies.’

For now, Nkoulou will focus on his league duties with Lyon.