Xavi retires from international football

Published August 5th, 2014 - 11:59 GMT

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has announced his decision to retire from international football at the age of 34.

Xavi was instrumental as Spain won back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010, but is calling time on a glittering international career after 133 games and 13 goals for La Roja.

The 34-year-old had been set to leave Barcelona earlier this summer, but has been persuaded to stay for one more season by coach Luis Enrique and will now concentrate on club football following Spain's disappointing World Cup campaign at Brazil 2014.

Xavi was named as the best player in Euro 2008 as Spain won their first international trophy since 1964 and added the World Cup and another continental championship in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

"I have decided to leave the national team - my time has come to an end," the midfielder announced in a press conference on Tuesday. "I'm grateful to everyone at the Federation. It has been a marvellous time over so many years and with so many successes."

And he added: "I'm leaving with pride and I wish them all the best. Now I'll be watching them as a fan."

The midfielder also confirmed he had changed his mind about Barcelona, claiming he thought his time with the Catalan club was over after the disappointment of Spain's first-round exit at the World Cup in June and missing out on the major silverware at the end of last season with the Blaugrana.

"I want people to understand that I thought my time had come to an end," he said. "I was so disappointed and I decided to leave Barca, but that decision was premature. Luis Enrique and Zubi (sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta) convinced me that I can be useful.

"I ended up disppointed last season. I didn't feel useful for Barcelona or for the national team. They were two of the biggest disappointments of my life."

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