Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has called time on his international football career.
Alonso, who made his Spain debut in April 2003 as a 21-year-old in a 4–0 win over Ecuador, retires with 114 caps to his name and 16 international goals to his credit.
He wrote on Twitter: “I announce my retirement from international football. It’s been an enormous honour for 11 great years. Sincere thanks to everyone involved.”
The 32-year-old was a member of ‘La Roja’ generation which won the Fifa World Cup in South Africa four years ago and the Uefa EURO 2008 and 2012.
He was named in Spain’s squad at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, where the former champions were eliminated just two games into their title defence.
“The most difficult thing is know when to say goodbye and, after giving it a lot of thought, I believe that moment has come,” Alonso added. “I have had a glorious time with Spain that started more than 11 years ago, including me forming part of an historic generation which realised the dream of millions of fans, achieving the unique feat of winning the World Cup and two European Championships in four years.
“I want to thank all my coaches, team-mates and the fans who have always shown me great love and respect. Inaki Saez, the unforgettable Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque are people who have helped me improve in the right way both professionally and personally.”
He also took time to thank the Spanish Football Federation, the fans and the three clubs where he has spent his senior career: Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
“I can’t count all the team-mates with whom I’ve worn this shirt, but I want to thank each and every one for all they have taught me during this unforgettable stage of my life.”
“Finally, I want to convey my sincere thanks to the fans,” he added. “We shared the same dreams and enjoyed the glory together.
“I have experienced many unforgettable moments and you guys have been the protagonists. I want to wish luck to everybody who continues to fight for this shirt, holding the absolute conviction that we will experience glory once again.”