Spain’s Xabi Alonso announces retirement from international soccer


Spain’s disaster of a World Cup, where it has lost its first two matches and failed to qualify for the knockout stages, has claimed its first player retirement announcement. On Saturday, Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso announced his retirement from international soccer.

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Alonso, a 32-year-old, made his international debut for Spain in a 4-0 win over Ecuador way back in 2003. Since that time he has made a total of 112 appearances for his country, scoring 16 goals.

He appeared in every major tournament for Spain since the 2004 European Championships and won three titles with the Spanish National Team. He lifted championship trophies at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and a second European title at Euro 2012.

Perhaps his most memorable moment in international soccer came as he earned his 100th cap for Spain in a Euro 2012 quarterfinal against France. Alonso scored both goals in a 2-0 win over France that put them in to the semi-finals.

Alonso also earned infamy as he was the recipient of a nasty kick to the chest by Nigel de Jong in the 2010 World Cup final.

With Spain being eliminated after two losses at this World Cup, Alonso didn’t hold back in his opinion as to what happened to the reigning World Cup champions this time around.

“On a footballing level, we made a lot of errors. We lost that know-how, that extra something that won so many games for us and the truth is that we didn’t have that same excitement as we have in other tournaments. We weren’t up to the challenge and we’re deservedly out of the competition now”, he told

He went on to question the will of the team and its preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

"“It was a bit of everything. We weren’t prepared mentally and we were touch and go physically. All of that together means that we didn’t come into the tournament in top form and on a footballing level we didn’t rise to the challenge. It’s a real shame, worse than that, that we weren’t mentally prepared for this World Cup”"

That frustration, coupled with being 32 years old clearly weighed on Alonso and may have led to his decision to announce retirement so early.

Alonso will continue to play at the club level, where he is a member of Spanish giants Real Madrid.