Barcelona star Xavi announces retirement from international football

first_imgBarcelona midfielder Xavi has announced his retirement from international football.The 34-year-old has been an integral part of Spain’s success in recent years, but has decided to bow out after winning 133 caps.He helped his country to dominate the international scene, with World Cup glory in 2010 sandwiched in between two European Championship titles.Following a disastrous World Cup defence for Spain in Brazil, which saw the holders crash out at the group stage, Xavi has now decided to call it quits to focus on his club career.“I’ve taken the decision to leave the national team. My time there has finished,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.“From now on I’m another fan of the Spain team.“I’m grateful to everybody at the Federation, it’s been a marvellous time for me to be there for so many years and have so much success. I’m leaving very proud and I wish them all the best.”Xavi made his international debut in 2000, the same year as he helped Spain win an Olympic silver medal in Australia.Further success came in 2008 when he was named player of the tournament as Spain won the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland – the country’s first international success since 1964.Two years later Xavi was a key part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup for the first time in their history, and then in 2012 he helped his country retain their Euro crown in Poland and Ukraine.Xavi was also part of Spain’s World Cup squad in Brazil this summer but played in just one game – the humiliating 5-1 opening defeat to Holland – as the defending champions were dumped out at the group stage.That defeat to Holland, which saw Spain concede five goals in an international for the first time since 1963, would turn out to be the last appearance in national colours for Xavi.On whether he had spoken with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque about his decision to retire, Xavi said: “I told him at Euro 2012, he convinced me to continue until Brazil and that was a disappointment for everyone, both at a collective level and a personal level, especially seeing myself left out of the Chile game.“I told Maria Jose Claramunt [national team director], but I haven’t told him personally. I’m grateful for all the support they’ve given me and I think there’s no better coaching team than now.“I wish them the best and I’m happy by the fact that Vicente is continuing.”The pass-master leaves Spain as his country’s second-most capped player, with only current national team captain Iker Casillas ahead of him. Xavi in action for Spain 1last_img read more