By DAN KARELL
Xavi Hernandez will no longer don the red jersey of the Spanish National Team from this day forward.
In a decision that was expected to come sooner rather than later, Xavi said at a press conference on Tuesday morning that he’s retiring from international soccer, ending a 15-year run with La Furia Roja.
“I have taken the decision to stop playing for the national team,” Xavi told reporters. “I would like to thank the Federation and the managers that have chosen me from day one. It has been fantastic working with them and playing for this team. I go satisfied, proud and happy and wish them all the best. I am happy with Del Bosque continuing. From today I am another Spain fan.”
Since making his debut in 2000 and securing a regular place in the Spain squad in the run up to the 2006 World Cup, Xavi has been a mainstay for the national team, making 133 appearances and winning both the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
The 34-year-old central midfielder, who has decided to remain at Barcelona for at least one more season, only played once during the World Cup in Brazil this past summer, starting and going the full 90 in Spain’s stunning 5-1 defeat.
Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday:
MAN UNITED CROWNED ICC CHAMPIONS
Coming off the disappointment of a seventh place finish in the English Premier League, Manchester United and new manager Louis Van Gaal have enjoyed a quick turnaround of the clubs fortunes, albeit just in preseason.
Man United won their fifth match in five games during their U.S. tour, defeating Liverpool, 3-1, in the final of the International Champions Cup in Miami on Monday evening to take home their first piece of silverware.
Liverpool took a 14th minute lead when Steven Gerrard slotted home a penalty kick but Man United took control in the second half when Wayne Rooney scored off a great cross from Javier Hernandez in the 55th minute.
Two minutes later, Juan Mata put the Red Devils in front and in the 88th minute, youngster Jesse Lingard put the match away with a cool finish to give Man United the victory.
MARQUEZ RETURNS TO EUROPE
In stunning news out of Mexico on Tuesday, Club Leon revealed that Mexico National Team captain Rafa Marquez has signed with Serie A side Hellas Verona.
The 35-year-old centerback has spent the last four years outside of European soccer, first with the New York Red Bulls before reviving his career with Club Leon, and leading them to two straight Liga MX titles. In addition, Marquez revitalized his international career under manager Miguel Herrera, and became the first Mexican to captain El Tri at four World Cups.
Its unclear how many years Marquez has signed for with Hellas Verona.
Marquez left Mexican soccer originally in 1999, signing for AS Monaco in France before joining Barcelona in 2003, remaining until 2010 when he joined the Red Bulls.
UEFA have ordered Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Debrecen, FC (Hungary), Chikhura Sachkhere (Georgia), and NK Maribor (Slovenia) to close part of their stadiums for their next UEFA competition match due to incidents of racism from each team’s supporters. (REPORT)
Corinne Diacre, the first female head coach in French professional soccer, lost in her debut with Clermont Foot, 2-1, to Stade Brestois. (REPORT)
The Premier League and FA have agreed on new concussion protocols for the upcoming season, including forcing a substitution after a player loses consciousness. (REPORT)
Jack Rodwell has completed a £10 million move to Sunderland from Manchester City, signing a five-year contract. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Sad to see Xavi retire from international soccer? What’s your favorite memory of him in a Spain jersey? Do you see Man United contending for the EPL title this season? Do you see Marquez succeeding in Italy?
Share your thoughts below.