Spain midfielder Xavi calls time on international career

Madrid :  Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez announced on Tuesday the end of a dazzling international football career crowned by La Roja’s 2010 World Cup triumph and two European Championships.

“I have decided to leave the national team. I think my time there has finished,” the 34-year-old Barcelona player told a news conference.

“It has been a wonderful, fantastic period for me. It has been an honour,” said Xavi, who played a decisive role in Spain’s triumphs at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, at Euro 2008 and at Euro 2012.

“We have managed to achieve many successes in the past six or eight years and now I am just another fan of the Spain team,” he said.

Xavi said he would stay with Barcelona, however, after being persuaded to ditch plans to leave the club. The player revealed that he had planned to leave the national side after Spain’s Euro 2012 triumph in Ukraine, but coach Vicente del Bosque convinced him to stay.

“He insisted I stay for Brazil and Brazil was disappointing for everyone collectively and for me also individually,” he said.

“The fact that I did not take part in the decisive game against Chile was a personal disappointment,” said Xavi of the match that Spain lost 2-0 in Rio de Janeiro in June, ensuring their exit from the World Cup in the group stage.

Xavi only played in the first game of Spain’s World Cup campaign in Brazil, a humiliating 5-1 loss to the Netherlands, an unfortunate end to his 133rd game for his country.

Spain’s coaching staff agreed that his time with the national side “has finished”, he said.

“I found myself on the bench for the last game of the league season, which had not happened to me in recent years in the national team either, and I decided to tell the club that the best thing would be to say that it is over now,” Xavi said.

But Barcelona’s new coach Luis Enrique and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, “convinced me I can still be competitive and useful to the club,” he added.

“I will give everything to carry on being important and useful to Barcelona.”

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