Spain legend Andres Iniesta has officially announced his retirement from international football.
Spain legend Andres Iniesta has officially announced his retirement from international football. The former Barcelona midfielder amassed an incredible 131 appearances for La Roja at senior level, scoring 13 times and winning the European Championship on two occasions, as well as the World Cup - and now he's finally stood down, aged 34.
To say Iniesta's decision to retire isn't a surprise would be an understatement. Following his departure from Barcelona, the midfield maestro travelled to Russia this summer in hopes of one last hurrah before bowing out; a second World Cup triumph would've been a fairy tale.
However, it wasn't to be - following Spain's surprise round of 16 elimination at the hands of the tournament hosts; and following the heartbreak of returning empty handed, Iniesta has called time on his career at international level.
"Now is the time to step aside," revealed Iniesta on Twitter. "It's not an easy decision, on the contrary, I've been thinking about a lot during the past months. The illusion and will to continue are total but I've always said I will do what's best for the national team.
"The future is thrilling, with a great group of unbelievable players that from now on will have me as an unconditional supporter. I don't have any doubt that what will come will be wonderful with any success. The quality group is amazing."
The midfielder then goes on to give thanks to those that helped him during his time with La Roja, giving special mention to his family for their support.
"I would like to thank all the Spanish Federation for the support and treatment that has been given to me during these past 19 years.
"I have been lucky to have great managers," he continues. "Luis (Aragones), Vicente (del Bosque), Julen (Lopetegui), Fernando (Hierro) and also Juan Santiesteban, Inaki Saez, Ufarte, Ginez.
"To all of you, fans, thank you, thank you so much for your support, trust and affection.
"At last, I would like to thank especially my family; thank you for your unconditional support and for always being by my side.
"We pursued a dream and we achieved it."