Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Spain’s greatest ever midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

Xavi, 34, has won 133 international caps for Spain but lost his starting place during their disastrous FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil as Vicente del Bosque’s side exited the competition after just 2 games – and were the first to exit the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The 34 year old midfielder admits that he was due to retire after Euro 2012, but was persuaded to continue by coach Vicente del Bosque. During a Barcelona-based press conference, Xavi said,

I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil which was of course a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.

After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope Del Bosque stays as manager as Spain because I don’t think there is a better man for the job. I want to thank everyone involved in that team for the way they treated me and the respect and I could not wish for a better time as an international.

More than any other player, the Barcelona midfielder has embodied the possession-based philosophy of Tiki-Taka, which took Spain to glory at the Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2012. In each victory, Xavi played an instrumental role, monopolising possession with unrivalled pass-completion statistics and allowing Spain to win game after game in the international arena.

On his decision to leave the national team, Xavi said, “I’ve taken the decision to leave the national team. My time there has finished. I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time. I’m not 20 any more, but I still have the motivation of a kid. I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil, which of course was a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.”

“After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope del Bosque stays as manager of Spain because I don;t think there is a better man for the job. ”

Long time international team mate Xabi Alonso is also reported to be considering his future with Spain.

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Although Xavi is quitting Spain, he remains with his club Barcelona. Xavi told a press conference that he had indeed made the decision to quit Barcelona but he has now reversed his decision and will stay put at the club where he has been for his entire football career.

7 time La Liga winner and 3 time Champions League winner says he was convinced to extend his career at Barcelona after discussions with new coach and former team mate Luis Enrique.

“I thank the club for being so patient and letting me think over my situation over the summer,” he said. “I’m happy that the club has faith in me and wants me to see out my contract. Having spoken to the coaches, they’ve made me feel competitive and useful.

“My contract is for two years so nothing changes. I think I made a rash decision to [consider leaving] the club and changed my mind. I wish to apologise and thank everyone.”

No one did more to establish Spain as football’s pre-eminent team and impose Tiki-Taka as the prevailing orthodoxy then Spain’s maestro Xavi Hernandez, who retires from the international side as the most influential player ever to wear the red of La Roja. Not only did he excel on the pitch, his close relationship with captain Iker Casillas also helped to heal rifts caused by the numerous El Clasicos between Barcelona and Real Madrid as Spain put aside their club rivalries to become arguably the greatest international side ever assembled, forget the FIFA World Cup 2014 folly.

Very few players quits the international duty having won 3 major tournaments, especially when the team in question had suffered so many heartbreaks before. Xavi’s style of play and quality has helped develop modern football as we know it today, a sport which should rightfully class the magician as a true icon.

A legend has departed the stage.

Xavi Hernandez World Cup

Xavi Hernandez World Cup 2010

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Toni Kroos Signs For Real Madrid

Toni Kroos Joins Real Madrid

Toni Kroos Joins Real Madrid

Real Madrid has signed Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich at a fee around the region of £20 million. Kroos who starred in Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph in Brazil has formally agreed to the transfer to Bernabeu.

Bayern Munich Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has paid tribute to Toni Kroos’ on his leaving. He said, “We thank Toni Kroos for his time in Munich. We have achieved great success with him here. We wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real.”

More on Toni Kroos:

The 24 year old was born in the old East Germany. He was a member of Bayern Munich’s first team at the age of 17 and established himself as a regular after an 18 month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen. Kroos won honours including 3 Bundesliga titles and the 2013 Champions League title. Internationally, Toni Kroos was a member of the German squad which reached the Semi Finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012, having mde his international debut in 2010. After wining the FIFA World Cup 2014, Kroos signed a 6 year contract with La Liga Club Real Madrid and will reportedly earn £5.3 million a year after tax.

Real Madrid are expected to sell German team mate Sami Khedira to find space for Toni Kroos. English Premier League Club Arsenal have agreed a fee with the Spanish club with rivals Chelsea making a late attempt to sign him on Thursday.

Diego Costa Chelsea.

Chelsea Clinches Diego Costa Deal

Chelsea Clinches Diego Costa Deal

Chelsea have confirmed that they have met Diego Costa buy-out clause of £32 million and will become Chelsea’s second big signing after the capture of Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona FC.

Chelsea club statement read: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa, with Chelsea meeting the buy put clause for the Spanish International,”

Diego Costa was the inspiration behind Atletico Madrid shock La Liga triumph last season, with the Brazilian-born forward scoring 27 times in 35 appearances. He was also part of the team that represented Spain in their terrible 2014 FIFA World Cup Campaign, having been the first team to crash out of the World Cup.

More on Diego Costa:

Diego Costa began his career with Braga in Portugal and was signed by Atletico Madrid, his current club in 2007. He was then loaned back to Braga, then to Celta and Albacete before he was sold to Valladolid in 2009. The 25-year-old then rejoined Atletico Madrid in 2010 and became an integral player in their attack.

Internationally, Costa represented Brazil twice in 2013, but later declared his desire to represent Spain, having been granted Spanish Citizenship in September 2013. Diego Costa made his debut for Spain in March 2014 and was selected for the Spanish 2014 FIFA World Cup Squad in Brazil.

On Diego Costa, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said (in June), “Costa is a player who I want to have in my team. I’ve asked my club for him and I have total confidence that we are going to achieve it and he will end up signing for Chelsea.”

Guess Mourinho would be right after all.

David Villa Retires

David Villa Retires

David Villa Retires From International Football

David Villa ends Spain’s career with 59th goal in Aussie Cruise, where Spain triumphed 3-0. Villa was able to sign off in his international career in style after he stuck a dagger into Australia’s heart after Australia’s fine start. Collecting the cutback from Juanfran, the departing legendary striker produced an elegant backheel to put the ball beyond keeper Mathew Ryan and open the floodgates for his side.

It was Villa’s 59th international goal in his 97th and final cap. But Villa couldn’t hide his emotions when substituted during Spain’s win against Australia.

The 32-year-old announced his retirement from playing for his country prior to the World Cup and is set to link-up with New York FC when the defending world champions fly back from Brazil.

And the raw feeling was plain for all to see when Villa was hooked by Vicente Del Bosque in the second half of the 3-0 win.Team-mates rushed to console the striker as he exited in the 57th minute.

Though he seemed to be holding it together as he trudged off, Villa appeared to burst into tears when he sat down on the bench. Pedro, Iker Casillas and Gerard Pique were up in appreciation as he came off.

More on David Villa’s International Career:

Villa made his international début for Spain in 2005. He has since became an integral member of Spain’s football team, participating in 4 major tournaments and winning the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup. He scored 3 goals in the 2006 World Cup, was the top scorer at the Euro 2008 and earned the Silver Boot at the 2010 World Cup. Villa is the first Spanish player ever to reach 50 international goals and is Spain’s all-time top goalscorer, having also scored more World Cup goals than any other Spanish Footballer. Villa scored 9 goals in 12 games at the World Cup, 4 more than any other Spanish Player. The goals-to-goals ratio Villa has achieved for Spain’s national team has not been matched by any player since Alfredo Di Stefano.

What’s even more amazing is that despite sustaining a serious injury to his right leg which jeopardised his chances of becoming a footballer when Villa was 4, Villa went on and built a stellar Football career, joining the likes of Sporting de Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia CF, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and eventually New York City FC.

Spain’s all time top scorer will be greatly missed as they search for younger blood to restock for the Euro 2016.

David Villa 7

*Featured image by Jon Super/Associated Press