south american qualifying

Cordoba ends exile to return to Colombia squad

May 17, 2009

Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba is celebrating clinching the Serie A title by announcing the end of his international exile.

Inter retained their crown last night after AC Milan were beaten 2-1 by Udinese, equalling their city rivals' tally of 17 titles.

The 32-year-old told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo: "I am very happy. We are celebrating a scudetto that has a very special taste because we reached Milan's mark.

"I was watching (Milan's defeat at Udinese) on the television in my hotel room but then, with three minutes to go, all of us went downstairs to another room to watch the end of the match and celebrate."

Cordoba feels this is the right moment to return to the international scene after an absence of a year and a half.

He declared in October 2007 he would not play for Colombia again under coach Jorge Luis Pinto, but he will return now Eduardo Lara is in charge.

Lara spent some time in Europe a couple of months ago and talked to Cordoba, who is expected to be included in the World Cup qualifying squad to play Argentina and Peru next month.

"We talked about everything. Lara wanted to know about my form and I asked him some things about his working way. It was a very kind chat," said Cordoba, who won the 2001 Copa America and played in the 1998 World Cup for the Cafeteros.

"I've always wanted to play in the national team. To wear the Colombia shirt makes me feel proud. If I have to play Argentina, I will do that with the same will and professionalism as always.

"Now things are very different and all of us are thinking about the same goal - we want to go to South Africa. For several of us, this is the last opportunity to play a World Cup again.

"That is why we want to do our best to qualify."