Spain’s best playmaker in the past decade, Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from the Spanish soccer national team. The 34-year-old midfielder will still be playing for his club team in the Spanish La Liga, FC Barcelona.
"I have decided to retire from international football," Xavi told a news conference streamed live over fcbarcelona.com. "I'm grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time. I'm not 20 years old anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid."
Xavi admitted that he thought of retiring from international play after the Euro 2012.
"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. After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014."
Xavi was named the member of the La Furia Roja’s under-17 squad in 1997 and by 2000, he was part of the senior team. He donned the Spanish jersey from that year until 2014 at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The 5-foot-7 (1.70m) midfield has a total of 133 appearances the senior NT-- the most for any Spanish player-- with 13 international goals.
Xavi’s greatest stretch was between 2008 and 2012. He was the UEFA Player of the Tournament in Euro 2008 and his country won the World Cup in 2010 the European Championship in 2008 and 2012. Xavi was awarded the World’s Best Playmaker by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) four years straight (2008-2011) and was part of the UEFA Team of the Year five years straight (2008-2012).
“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," said Xavi in his retirement press conference on Tuesday.
Watch the announcement of Xavi’s retirement from international play below: