World Cup-winning Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets has announced his retirement from international football.
Busquets, who also won the 2012 European Championship, has been an ever-present at the base of Spain’s midfield since making his debut in 2009.
The 34-year-old Barcelona player has made 143 appearances for Spain, playing every match at this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
Spain suffered a shock exit on penalties to Morocco at the round-of-16 stage.
Luis Enrique, who has since left his job as Spain manager, said after that match that he “wanted to convince him to play another World Cup”.
However, Busquets announced his retirement from international duty after 15 years with a lengthy post on Instagram.
The veteran wrote: “I would like to announce that after almost 15 years and 143 matches, the time has come to say goodbye to the national team.
“It has been an honor to represent my country and take it to the top, to be a World and European champion, to be captain and to play so many games, with greater or lesser success but always giving everything and contributing my grain of sand so that everything was done the right way, and so that everyone felt how important they are, helping everyone and fighting for the same goal, with unique, unforgettable and historical experiences.
“I still get goosebumps remembering it. I will miss it a lot — seeing the squad list, taking the airplane, greeting my teammates, enjoying the training sessions, the endless games, going out to play, but not before shouting together, listening to the national anthem, hugging or feeling the affection of an entire country.
“Finally, I can only wish my teammates and the new coach Luis de la Fuente all the luck in the world. Now I will be one more fan, I will enjoy and unconditionally support our team.”
Spain confirmed earlier this month that Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente would replace Luis Enrique in the top job.
His first test will come in March as Spain face Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.
The Cult of Luis Enrique: How Spain’s World Cup turned to shambles
(Photo: Getty Images)