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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019

Iniesta announces international retirement following Spain's World Cup exit

After more than 130 caps and three major titles, including the 2010 World Cup, the former Barcelona midfielder has hung up his boots

Iniesta leaves the pitch following Spain's defeat to Russia on Sunday.
Iniesta leaves the pitch following Spain's defeat to Russia on Sunday.
Image: David Ramos - FIFA

ANDRES INIESTA HAS announced that he will retire from international football after seeing Spain crash out of the World Cup at the hands of Russia.

Iniesta started Sunday’s last-16 game on the bench as coach Fernando Hierro opted to rest the Barcelona legend.

But, with Spain failing to break down a determined Russia backline, Iniesta was drafted in after 67 minutes and subsequently converted his penalty in the shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.

Koke and Iago Aspas then both failed in the shoot-out, marking a disappointing end to the midfielder’s glorious Spain career.

“This was my last game for Spain,” Iniesta told reporters after the defeat.

“A marvellous spell is over. Sometimes the end is not as you dreamed it.”

Iniesta played a total of 131 times for Spain, scoring on 13 occasions in national team colours

His place in Roja folklore was assured in 2010 upon hitting the winning goal in the World Cup final against Netherlands, while he also lifted European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.

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