One of the best midfielders in Spain’s storied history has stepped back from national team duty, as Xavi Hernandez announced his retirement on Tuesday morning.
The 34-year-old closes up shop with 133 caps, 13 goals, two European championships and the 2010 World Cup title. He also won a silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Xavi will continue to play for Barcelona under new head coach Luis Enrique despite being linked with several new homes over the course of the summer.
The midfielder said he was prepared to skip town after being benched at the end of the season, and was linked to New York City FC amongst other destinations, but was talked into a return to the Camp Nou by Enrique.
From the BBC, here are Xavi’s comments on his Spanish retirement:
“I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente Del Bosque persuaded me 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. I hope Del Bosque stays as manager of Spain because I don’t think there is a better man for the job.
“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.”
Barcelona starts the La Liga season at home against Elche on Aug. 24.