Xavi Retires from International Football

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Omaku Cephas
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Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has drawn the line on his international journey.

The 34-year-old has won 25 trophies- more than any other Spanish player in history- and made 133 appearances for ‘La Roja’, scoring 13 goals.

“I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time,” said Xavi in a press conference in Barcelona.

“I’m not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid.”

Xavi Ends His 14-Year Journey With 'La Roja'. Image: Miguel Ruiz for Barca.
Xavi Ends His 14-Year Journey With ‘La Roja’. Image: Miguel Ruiz for Barca.

Since making his senior international debut on 15 November 2000 against the Netherlands, Xavi wielded himself into the midfield role of Spain’s national team.

Having risen throughout the youth ranks of the country’s national sides, the Barcelona-born playmaker went on to feature in ten major tournaments for country.

He was an influential member of the victorious squad at the 2008 European Championships and, even earned the Player of the Tournament pundit, as Spain ended a 44-year wait for a major international trophy.

The country followed that up with victory in the 2010 Fifa World Cup and Uefa Euro 2012, at whose point Xavi had registered himself as an insurmountable force in the middle of the pack.

Spain’s dominance in world football culminated in a disappointing group stage ouster in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the country were humbled 5-1 by the Netherlands in their opening match followed by a subsequent 2-0 loss to Chile.

“I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but I was persuaded to stay on and go to Brazil which was of course a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually,” he added.

“After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014.”

The midfielder is often remembered for his defence-splitting passes and his ability to single-handedly control and open up most matches.

He said: “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, who has also represented the Catalonia national team (the football team of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia), will now focus on club football with Barcelona.

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