Xavi quits international duty

Spanish midfielder Xavi Hernandez has retired from international duty, BBC Sport reports.

The Barcelona man made the announcement at a press conference and spoke of the enjoyment he has had as a member of the most successful Spanish squad in history, and thanked his international colleagues.

“I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time,” said the 34-year-old Catalan. “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.”

Xavi made his international bow in 2000 in a friendly defeat against the Netherlands, and went on to establish himself as a vital part of the Spain team that would by the end of the decade be sweeping all before them.

In 2008 he was named Player of the Tournament as Spain were crowned European Champions, their first major trophy in 44 years. He also starred in the subsequent 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship victories.

“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,” Xavi said, reflecting on what was ultimately a sad end to a great international career.

Xavi will continue his club duties with Barcelona (the only club he has ever played for) with who he has accumulated seven La Liga titles and three Champions League winners’ medals in a truly glittering career, which may be set to continue. “I’m not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid,” he said.

Xavi ends his international career with 133 appearances, placing him only behind goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the list of Spain’s most capped players.

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