Andres Iniesta retires from international football following Spain's World Cup exit

Mon, Jul 02 2018

Iniesta pictured during Euro 2016. Credit: Al Robinson

Andrés Iniesta announced his retirement from international football following Spain's exit to Russia on Sunda evening.

La Roja were beaten 4-3 on penalties by the hosts after the sides were locked at 1-1 following 30 minutes of extra time.

Iniesta, who scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands, confirmed the expected news that he was to retire when Spain's tournament came to an end.

He made 131 appearances for Spain over 12 years, scoring 13 goals.

Iniesta told reporters: “Yes, I'm done. I finished this personal journey that has finished after a long time. And, well, everything has a beginning and an end.

“Sometimes not all farewells are as you expect, as you wish. Now we have to analyse everything in general after a difficult moment we had today. It becomes difficult but ,well, that's the moment.

“It's been a pleasure.”

34-year-old Iniesta brought to an end his 22-year association with Barcelona in April before signing a deal with Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

The Fuentealbilla native is the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time, having won the European Championships twice as well as the World Cup.

The midfielder won two trebles in his time with Barcelona, and nine La Liga titles in total, for a grand total of 35 major trophies.

Iniesta finished second in the race for the Ballon d'Or in 2010, behind Barcelona teammate Messi, and finished third in 2012.