Spain's Andres Iniesta retires from international football following World Cup exit
Last Updated: 01/07/18 11:09pm
Andres Iniesta has retired from international football following Spain's World Cup elimination by Russia on penalties.
The 34-year-old dropped to the bench for the last-16 clash, having started all of Spain's three group games, but was introduced on 67 minutes for his 131st international cap.
He was unable to inspire Spain to victory however as they were beaten 4-3 on penalties by the World Cup hosts.
"Sometimes the endings are not as one dreams," said Iniesta, who scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final and won two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
"It is a reality that is my last match with the national team - at an individual level a wonderful stage is over. Overall, it is surely the saddest day of my career.
"There is relief. The players are there. The important thing is to find the way to success again. It is not easy, it is more complicated than it seems, but the national team will continue."
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Iniesta lost just 15 games with Spain, winning 96 and drawing 15, and scored 13 goals.
He left Barcelona at the end of last season, signing for Japanese club Vissel Kobe, after a glittering career at the Catalan club where he won nine league titles and four Champions Leagues.