Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Xavi retires from International football

Spain midfielder Xavi, one of the most decorated footballers of all time who defined the nation's spectacularly successful 'tiki-taka' possession-based playing style, has retired from internationals at the age of 34.
The Barcelona player represented his country 133 times, a record for an outfield player and only bettered by goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas, and was a key figure in Spain's glittering run when it won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
Xavi announced his decision during a press conference for his club.

"I have decided to retire from the Spain national team," he said. "I'm grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time."

Xavi made his debut as a 20-year-old against the Netherlands in 2000.
He added: "I'm not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid."

He played in four World Cups and three European Championships and won 100 of his 133 matches for the Iberian nation, controlling play from a central position, regularly providing assists and also scoring the occasional goal.
His last appearance for Spain was a bitter 5-1 reverse to the Netherlands in their opening Group B match in Brazil in June.
He was dropped by coach Vicente del Bosque for their next game against Chile, which they also lost and were eliminated, and replaced by Atletico Madrid's Koke, whom he has singled out as his natural successor.
He said: "I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil which was of course a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.

"After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope Del Bosque stays as manager as Spain because I don't think there is a better man for the job.

"I want to thank everyone involved in that team for the way they treated me and the respect and I could not wish for a better time as an international."

Spanish team-mate David Villa also retired after the tournament in Brazil, while other veterans Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso are still available despite speculation that they too may retire from international football.

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