REAL MADRID midfielder Xabi Alonso has announced his retirement from international football.
The 32-year-old was a member of the Spain squads which won the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2008 and 2012 during a sustained period of dominance - but that run came to an end with a miserable World Cup in Brazil this summer as they were dumped out before the group stages had even concluded.
Alonso announced on Twitter: “I announce my retirement from international football. It’s been an enormous honour for 11 great years. Sincere thanks to everyone involved.”
Alonso, who made his Spain debut in April 2003 as a 21-year-old, retires with 114 caps to his name.
“The most difficult thing is know when to say goodbye and, after giving it a lot of thought, I believe that moment has come,” the Basque added.
“I have had a glorious time with Spain that started more than 11 years ago, including me forming part of an historic generation which realised the dream of millions of fans, achieving the unique feat of winning the World Cup and two European Championships in four years.
“I want to thank all my coaches, team-mates and the fans who have always shown me great love and respect.
“Inaki Saez, the unforgettable Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque are people who have helped me improve in the right way both professionally and personally.
“I can’t count all the team-mates with whom I’ve worn this shirt, but I want to thank each and every one for all they have taught me during this unforgettable stage of my life.”