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Xabi Alonso retires from Spanish National Team

Aug 27, 2014, 3:40 PM EST

Spain v France - UEFA EURO 2012 Quarter Final Getty Images

Xabi Alonso has announced that he is retiring from the Spanish National Team, according to Reuters.

The defensive midfielder, who has enjoyed a sparkling career for the national side that spans 11 years and 114 caps, was a crucial part to Spain’s ‘Golden Age’ that redefined modern football with their tiki-taka style.

“I quit the Spanish National Team,” the 32-year-old said in a statement on the Spanish football team’s official website (www.sefutbol.com).

“The hardest thing is knowing when to say goodbye, and after thinking about it, I think that my time with the National squad has come to an end. It has been a glorious period with the Spanish team that started more than 11 years ago, I have formed part of an historical generation that has fulfilled the dreams of millions of fans.”

Despite a disheartening end to his international career at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, Alonso departs La Furia Roja with his head held high after lead roles securing two European Championship titles and one World Cup. One of the finest defensive midfielders to ever play the game, his flavor was equal parts destroyer and tactician. Rarely does such a player come along to an international side and for it to coincide with his country’s rise to glory should be considered justice.

With his international legacy secured Alonso will now focus his game on club football. With the departure of the man known affectionately as ‘Red Beard’, the defensive midfield role for Spain will be carried on by Sergio Busquets and Asier Illarramendi while Ignacio Camacho and Benat will also compete.

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