Saturday, June 21, 2014

Alonso to retire from international football

Xabi Alonso is set to quit Spain after their World Cup exit and retire from international football.

The 32-year-old reportedly made the decision before traveling to Brazil and it is not a reaction to Spain's collapse in this year's World Cup, where they have failed to play with the same aura that saw them conquer the tournament in 2010.

But retiring internationally echoes comments made by Alonso on Thursday: 'In football, the end of an era is usually signalled by a defeat. Maybe now's the time to start thinking about making changes.'

The Real Madrid midfielder's final game would be against Australia on Monday, after Vicente Del Bosque's side became the first team eliminated from the tournament following defeats to Holland and Chile in Group B.

The former Liverpool midfielder, who spent five years at Anfield, hit the headlines after publicly criticising Spain's below par performances.

And Alonso didn't hold back in doing so.

'We haven't been able to maintain our hunger and the conviction we needed to make a serious attempt at defending the trophy,' said Alonso, as reported by AS.

'The happiness we experienced in the past and all of the successes are over.

'In terms of football, we made a lot of mistakes. We've lost our way, and the ability to be ourselves out on the pitch - that was what enabled us to win so many of our games in the past.

'The overall mood was different this time - not like it was in other tournaments. That's the saddest thing.

'Mentally, we were not fully prepared for this World Cup and physically, we were right at the very limit. Both of those things together meant that we weren't in better conditions.

'We weren't at the required level and we deserve to have been knocked out.'

It would signal the end of an impressive era, given Alonso's involvement in three World Cups, two European Championships and a Confederations Cup during his 11-year Spain career. And the news would most likely go down well at the Bernabeu.

Alonso, having signed a new contract to stay with Real Madrid until 2016, could use the spare time to rest, given the injuries that have halted the veteran in recent years.

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