Spain International Andres Iniesta has retired from the Spanish national team after 12 years.
The former Barcelona midfielder announced his decision after coming on as a substitute in Spain’s loss to Russia in the round of 16 at the World Cup.
Speaking to the media after the match, he said: “Sometimes the endings are not as one dreams,”
“It is a reality that is my last match with the national team,”
“It is the saddest day of my career.”
“The important thing is to get back to successful ways, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. It’s harder that it might appear. But there is a new generation, we have high-level players.”
It wasn’t how the 34 years old envisaged his retirement, but the host had different ideas.
The game went into extra-time with the score pegged at 1-1 after Spain, slow in possession and lacking creativity were unable to break down the resolute Russians who stood firm throughout.
After extra-time ended with the score locked at 1-1, Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev stopped Koke and then Iago Aspas to spark jubilant scenes of celebration at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
Spain didn’t do their preparation any good after they sacked coach Julen Lopetegui for failing to tell the spanish federation about his move to Real Madrid.
Iniesta made his debut for the La Roja in 2006 and was a key member of the golden generation that won both the world cup and the European Championship.
He scored the winning goal that gave the Spaniards the World Cup eight years ago in South Africa.