Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.
The 34-year-old alerted the media to his decision during a press conference this morning.
“I’ve taken the decision to leave the national team. My time there has finished,” he said. “From now on I’m another fan of the Spain team. I’m grateful to everybody at the Federation (RFEF), it’s been a marvelous 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 began his international career in 2000 and has made 133 appearances with La Roja; notching 100 victories.
He was named player of the tournament as Spain claimed the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship by beating Germany, 1-0, in the final in Vienna. The playmaker made the crucial pass to Fernando Torres which led to the only goal of the match.
Just two years later, the midfielder played a key role as Spain won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for the first time in its history.
Lastly, Xavi helped his country retain its European crown by defeating Italy, 4-0, in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev.
During the press conference on Tuesday, Xavi confessed that he planned to leave the team following their victory in Euro 2012, but coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded him stay on through the World Cup in Brazil.
Unfortunately, Spain crashed out of this summer’s tournament in the group stages and in the process Xavi was benched for his country’s second group match against Chile. It was during that time when the playmaker decided to retire from international duty.