FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi has retired from international football after what he describes as “one of the worst seasons in his career”.
Xavi faced disappointment with both Barcelona and Spain this year as the defending World Champions were knocked out in the group stages of the World Cup, after a string of underwhelming performances. Similarly, Barcelona endured a trophy-less season and one of the prime reasons behind their recent fall is the significant dip in Xavi’s performances.
Age seems to be catching up fast with the 34-year-old, who has undoubtedly been one of the best midfielders in the World in the last 10 years and more. Xavi was expected to depart from Camp Nou this summer, but new manager Luis Enrique convinced him to stay. The midfield maestro reveals he didn’t feel ‘useful’ for club and country, before Enrique convinced him otherwise.
“Last year, things ended in disappointing fashion; both for the team and myself personally. It was one of the worst seasons I’ve had in my career. I didn’t feel useful to the club and the same thing seemed to happen with Spain.
“I thought perhaps it was time to move on and start a new journey but over the holidays I was talking to Luis Enrique and he convinced me that there are still things I can do for this club. I’d like to thank the club for being so patient with me.
“I wasn’t feeling useful, I wasn’t feeling motivated but speaking to Luis Enrique has really helped me.” – The Barcelona midfielder said.
Xavi also insisted that his initial decision to leave was not based on any financial incentives.
“I’ve mentioned to the coaches that it is a purely sporting decision. It has nothing to do with finances or people leaving the club.
“I had offers from other clubs but it wasn’t something financial at all [staying on at Barca].” – He added.
Xavi, who has made 133 appearances for Spain after making his debut 2000, also announced his retirement from international football. The midfielder was the lynchpin of the Spanish side which won the 2010 World Cup along with 2008 and 2012 European Championships. The Barcelona legend will be remembered as one of the greatest player Spain has produced in their history.
“I have decided to retire from international football. I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time.”
“From now on I’m another fan of the Spain team. I’m grateful to everybody at the Federation (RFEF), it’s been a marvellous time for me to be there for so many years and have so much success. I’m leaving very proud and I wish them all the best.” – Xavi announced.