Xavi Hernandez: Barcelona legend quits Spain duty

Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol
Xavi made his senior international debut in the same game as Barcelona team-mate Carles Puyol

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

The 34-year-old won the World Cup and two European Championships with his country.

He was capped 133 times, more than any other Spanish outfield player, and scored 13 goals.

World Cup 2010 final highlights - Netherlands 0-1 Spain

Xavi told a news conference in Barcelona on Tuesday: "I'm grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time."

He made his full Spain debut on 15 November 2000, aged 20, against the Netherlands.

"I'm not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid," he said.

Xavi was voted player of the tournament at the 2008 European Championship as Spain ended a 44-year wait for a major international trophy and began a period of domination on the world stage.

Theystarted the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as one of the favourites, but were dumped out of the tournament in the group stages after a 5-1 defeat by Netherlands and a 2-0 loss to Chile.

Xavi Hernandez
Age: 34
Current club: FC Barcelona
First international: v Netherlands on 15 November 2000
International caps: 133
International goals: 13

Xavi said: "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."

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