MADRID, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Veteran FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez announced he was retiring from international football in a press conference on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old said he was bringing the curtain down on an international career which saw him win 133 caps for Spain during which he was a key figure in leading his country to two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, as well as being the architect of the style of touch football known as 'tiki-taka.'
"I have taken the decision to leave the national team," said Xavi. "It is the end of a cycle...it has been extraordinary to have worked with all of those people and we have won a lot of titles and I am happy and proud. From now I am just another fan," he said.
Xavi may be retiring from international football, but remains committed to Barca, although he admitted he had doubts over the summer.
"I was a bit disappointed last season. We have disappointments on a collective and personal level and I felt useless when I was on the bench for the last and decisive game of the season. That was when I started to think that it was maybe best to end this era, but I went on holiday and spoke to Andoni Zubizarreta (Director of Sport) and Luis Enrique (Barca coach) and they made me see I can still be important and useful," said the midfielder, who said that now he "feels useful and I have changed my mentality."
Xavi was vital as Barca drew their friendly 1-1 with Nice and the weekend, showing he is still the midfield lynchpin and said he had not been told to expect a bit-part role next season. Nevertheless, he did admit he had to show Luis Enrique that he "needs to play me. I feel good and I am starting strongly," he said.
"I am going to do everything to continue feeling important and I hope people understand me," concluded Xavi.