Mendez announced in March that he was retiring from international football, saying he was tired of the long flights from Europe back to his homeland to play in World Cup qualifiers.

However, the 29-year-old has had a change of heart and told a press conference on Monday that he was sorry for saying he wanted to quit the national team.

"I apologise to my compatriots, my mother, the person I take in my heart, and my son, who loves football and made me think about having made a mistake by leaving the country because of problems that could have been solved through discussion," Mendez said.

"I want to be part of the qualification process to the 2010 World Cup."

Mendez said he feels he has a lot to contribute to Sixto Vizuete's team.

"I'm having a good time and I want to share it with everybody and overcome any misunderstanding," he said. "I'll be always available to play for the national team."

Luis Chiribog, the president of Ecuadorian FA, praised Mendez's decision.

"Football fans are happy about the return of a great player who gave Ecuador its first World Cup win ever," he said, recalling the goal Mendez scored as Ecuador beat Croatia 1-0 in the 2002 World Cup.

Mendez will not feature in the friendly against France on May 27, however, as he gets himself back to full match fitness.

When he does get back into the team, he will face an uphill battle to help them qualify for the World Cup. Ecuador have won just one of their opening four qualifiers and lie eighth in the 10-team South American Qualifying Zone.

The tournament resumes in June, when the Tricolor face Argentina and Colombia.