Xavi retires from international football

Midfielder will carry on playing for his club Barcelona after confirming his decision to retire from Spain duty.

    Xavi played 133 games for the national squad and scored 13 goals [AFP]
    Xavi played 133 games for the national squad and scored 13 goals [AFP]

    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 goal-keeper and captain Iker Casillas, and was a key figure in Spain's glittering run when they won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

    I would like to single out Luis Enrique, who has made me see that I can still be important

    Xavi, Barcelona midfielder

    Xavi had a disappointing 2013-14 season, when Barca failed to win major silverware for the first time in six years and holders Spain were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage, and reports suggested he was poised to end his career in the Middle East or the United States.

    However, he has decided to play on at club level under new coach and former team mate Luis Enrique but has called time on his international career before Spain begin their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.

    "I'm grateful for all those years," Xavi told a news conference after a Barca training session. "It has been a fantastic time. I was disappointed on two levels at the end of last season as I did not feel useful to Barca or to the national team.

    "I would like to single out Luis Enrique, who has made me see that I can still be important."

    Xavi, who has won three Champions League crowns, seven La Liga titles and a host of other trophies with Barca, made his debut for Spain in a friendly against the Netherlands in November 2000.

    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.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months