Andres Iniesta, the scorer of the goal that won Spain their only World Cup, has retired from international football aged 34.
The long-time Barcelona midfielder, who is set to join Japanese J-League side Vissel Kobe this summer, told reporters after Spain’s elimination at the hands of Russia that this was to be his final match wearing the famous red shirt.
"This was my last game for Spain,” he said. “A marvellous spell is over. Sometimes the end is not as you dreamed it."
Iniesta also won European Championships in 2008 and 2012 as part of Spanish football’s golden generation, a team that under the guidance of Luis Aragones and then Vicente del Bosque revolutionised international football by playing with a cohesion and technique rarely seen on the international stage.
But most notably he scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final as Spain defeated the Netherlands in extra-time to win the tournament at South Africa's Soccer City.
The playmaker will retire from international football as one of the most influential players of his era but bows out in disappointment as Spain’s World Cup dream died amid stormy weather at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies