Not a surprise, but still incredibly sad.
After Spain was eliminated by hosts Russia on penalties, Andres Iniesta announced his retirement from international soccer. El Cerebro retires at 34 years of age with 131 caps to his name. He finishes his international career with 13 goals and 27 assists for Spain, and he owns one World Cup and two European titles.
“This was my last game for Spain,” Iniesta told Radio Estadio after the match. “A marvelous spell is over. Sometimes the end is not as you dreamed it.”
Iniesta also concluded a 22-year career at Barcelona this summer, signing a 2-year deal with Japanese club Vissel Kobe.
Against Russia, Iniesta began the match on the bench, the first time he had not started a match for Spain in either the World Cup or European Championship since 2010. He came on in the 67th minute to replace the ineffective David Silva, and while he created three chances for Spain, he was unable to help his country find a winning goal. He scored the team’s first penalty in the shootout, which Spain ultimately lost on a pair of saves by Igor Akinfeev.