Sunday 26 January 2020

End of the road for Spain legend Andres Iniesta after World Cup exit against Russia

Andres Iniesta bows out of international football (Frank Augstein/AP)
Andres Iniesta bows out of international football (Frank Augstein/AP)

Andres Iniesta has announced his retirement from international football following Spain's World Cup exit.

The 34-year-old, who scored Spain's match-winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final, confirmed his decision after La Roja's last-16 loss to Russia in Moscow.

Iniesta scored Spain's opening penalty in the shoot-out against the host nation but was powerless to prevent his side losing 4-3 on spot-kicks - having drawn the match 1-1 - and tumbling out of the tournament.

The playmaker, who recently left Barcelona to join Japanese side Vissel Kobe, won 131 caps for Spain.

He said on "Sometimes the finals are not how you dream them.

"It's true that it is my last match with the national team, on a personal level it's the end of a magnificent phase. Overall, I think it's the saddest day of my career."

A huge part of what has been an unprecedented run of success for Spain, Iniesta also helped La Roja win the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 during an international career that spanned 12 years.

He leaves a big hole to fill, but said of the national team: "There are replacements, players are there, the important thing is to find the way to success again.

"It's not easy, it's more complicated than it seems, but the national team will continue."

The Spanish FA said: "Spanish football will miss you. Thank you for everything, Andres."

PA Media

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