Photo: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, a key part of Spanish squads that won two European championships and the country’s first-ever World Cup title, on Wednesday announced his retirement from the national team.
In an emotional statement on La Roja’s Web site, Alonso bid farewell to the Spanish squad after more than 11 years.
“I want to announce that I’m ending my tenure with the Spanish national team. The hardest thing is knowing when to say goodbye and, after giving it a great deal of thought, I think that moment has arrived,” Alonso said.
“I’m bringing an end to a glorious period with the national team that began more than 11 years ago, having formed part of an historic generation that fulfilled the dreams of millions of fans, achieving something unique which is a World Cup (in 2010) and two European Championships (in 2008 and 2012) in four years,” he added.
Alonso, who scored 16 goals for Spain in international competitions, thanked those who accompanied his process as a member of La Roja, especially the three men who coached the squad during his tenure.
“Iñaki Saez, the unforgettable Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque are people I’ll always hold dear for the crucial impact they had on my professional and personal growth,” the 32-year-old, who made his debut for Spain on April 20, 2003, in a friendly against Ecuador, said.
Alonso is the third Spanish player to retire from the national team after their participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Spain fared poorly and failed to qualify for the knockout stage.
Xavi Hernandez announced his retirement from the Spanish squad earlier this month, while David Villa said prior to this year’s World Cup that he would wrap up his international career in Brazil.