Midfield star Xavi Hernandez, who is credited with contributing to La Roja’s makeover, has announced his departure from international football.
The 34-year-old made the announcement on Tuesday, saying, “I have taken the decision to leave the national team. I am grateful to the federation and the national team coaches for their confidence in me. It has been a fantastic period.
“I leave as a satisfied, proud and happy man. I wish the team all the best for the future.”
Alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas, he turned around the label of the Spanish national side from perennial underachievers to champions, triumphing at the 2010 World Cup and the last two European Championships.
Xavi is the second highest cap player in the history of La Roja, with 133 appearances, second only to Iker Casillas. The Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas has played 156 times for Spain, and intends to continue in the national team.
“He has won my affection as a person, while for his football there are very few who cannot say he is a great player,” said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque of Xavi.
“It is impossible to know who is the best player in the history of the Spanish national team, but that Xavi is one of the best is not in doubt. In the past there were some extraordinary players, but I cannot say who is better than others.”