Ghana legend Mohammed Polo has advised Michael Essien to quit international football if it will pose problems for his health.
Essien has not played for Ghana since featuring in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo at the Baba Yara Stadium.
The on-loan Real Madrid player has delayed his return to the Black Stars due his fitness level after recovering from two serious knee injuries.
Last month, the 30-year-old asked permission to be excluded from Ghana's plans for the Nations Cup.
"What is happening to Essien is very sad. He was just in the process ofÂ regaining his fitness and that allergy appeared," Polo, a 1978 Nations Cup winner, told the Finder Sports Newspaper.
"I think that he should retire if he thinks that he wonâ€™t be able to play as he used to."
"Every football player is always afraid to stop his career because playing is what he lives for; nevertheless, there is a life after football.
We have done it and I know that Essien can also do the same. He has so much to offer even after football."
Essien returned to training on Sunday after being sidelined for the past two weeks due to a allergic reaction.
He is on a season-long loan move from English Premier League Chelsea.