Article

Xavi announces international retirement

5 August 2014 12:17

Spain midfielder Xavi has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 34.

The Barcelona stalwart earned 133 caps for his country and was involved in three successive major-tournament triumphs between 2008 and 2012, winning consecutive UEFA European Championship titles and the FIFA World Cup.

"I have made my decision to leave the national team, I feel my time there has ended," Xavi explained.

"I'm grateful to the federation and all the coaches who have been selecting me, I want to thank them all.

"It's been extraordinary to be with the Spain team. I'm proud to have played with them for so long.

"I'm really satisfied, happy and proud in what I've achieved with Spain. I'll always support the Spanish national team but I feel my personal role has come to an end."

Xavi, who also confirmed on Tuesday that he intends to stay at Camp Nou for the remainder of his two-year deal, is regarded as one of his country's finest talents.

He made his Spain debut against Netherlands in 2000 and went on to establish himself as a key component of the national set-up, with only Iker Casillas making more appearances for Spain.

It took until 2008 for his efforts to be rewarded with silverware on the international stage, though, as Luis Aragones led Spain to the European title in Austria and Switzerland.

Though not prolific in front of goal - he scored 13 times - Xavi's vision, close control and range of passing made him a key weapon in Spain's armoury.

His retirement comes on the back of a hugely disappointing World Cup campaign for Spain, who meekly surrendered their crown after suffering a group-stage exit.

Vicente del Bosque, who replaced Aragones in 2008, will now seek to continue Spain's continental dominance, but will likely call upon a much-changed squad for the Euro 2016 tournament in France.

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